Ubuntu greeting, friends:
‘I am what I am because of who we all are’.
‘As night and day take turns on this massive Earth spinning nowhere, the song we share within takes turns with the catastrophes of living. When we go silent, the age goes dark.’
“We all have traveled this same pathway of experience – – the journey of the soul to ‘the heights above’ – – and always there has been a deep inquiry in our minds: What is it all about? Does life make sense? What is the meaning of birth, human experience, and the final transition from this plane, which we call death?
With the Koran we must realize that the Divine is closer to us even than our physical being. Nothing can be nearer to us than which is the very essence of our own being.
Our external search after Reality culminates in the greatest of all possible discoveries – – Reality is at the center of our own being. Life is from within out.
We must no longer judge according to appearances, but rather, base our judgments on the assumption that the Gaia-Mind dwells within us proclaimed or reflects Itself through us into every act.
I shall speak this Reality into every experience I have.”
[Science of Mind]
Mind is Brahma; for from mind even are verily born these beings–by mind, when born, they live.
The Mind, then, is not separated off from God’s essentiality, but is united to it, as light to sun.
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind.
Grace filled transitions to you, to us all. Ubuntu.
- Spirit of Life
- Giver of Life
- Breath of LIfe
- Wakan Tanka
- Tara & Lakshmi
Shirley goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives…
Full Moon is Monday, January 1st
Spend some good intentional time and using your emotions, intuition and imagination, set your dreams and desires for the coming year if you have not already done so. If you have, then spend a bit of time either expanding your imagination of what is possible or trying those dreams on energetically.
This is also a very good time to set specific intentions of how you wish and need to serve yourself in the coming weeks and months. This is a year of service and service needs to start with you personally. If you can’t serve yourself, you cannot be of support and service to others. This is a nurturing moon that will inspire you to clean your nest, do your laundry, and focus on how to make your home environment more supportive to you this year. Remember it does not all have to get done today, but you can still set concrete intentions of what you wish to see happen in the coming year.
God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.
-Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Each time I tried to close up what had been opened. It was a reflex, natural enough. But the lesson was, of course, the other way The lesson was in never closing again.”
The blade of grass may wither and petals fall from the flower, but the idea, “the word of the Lord…Gaia…endureth forever.
I know that all things are good when rightly used. I enter the game of living, then, with joyful anticipation, with spontaneous enthusiasm, and with the determination to play the game well and to enjoy it.”
Epictetus’ promise: if you truly understand the difference between what is and what is not under your control, and act accordingly, you will become psychologically invincible, impervious to the ups and downs of fortune.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
-Reinhold Niebuhr, circa 1934
The sentiment behind the prayer is very old, found in 8th-century Buddhist manuscripts, as well as in 11th-century Jewish philosophy. The oldest version I can think of, however, goes back to the Stoic philosopher Epictetus. Active in the 2nd century in Rome and then Nicopolis, in western Greece, Epictetus argued that:
We are responsible for some things, while there are others for which we cannot be held responsible. The former include our judgment, our impulse, our desire, aversion and our mental faculties in general; the latter include the body, material possessions, our reputation, status – in a word, anything not in our power to control. … [I]f you have the right idea about what really belongs to you and what does not, you will never be subject to force or hindrance, you will never blame or criticise anyone, and everything you do will be done willingly. You won’t have a single rival, no one to hurt you, because you will be proof against harm of any kind.
‘To Be Happier, Focus On What’s in Your Control’
by Massimo Pigliucci and edited by Nigel Warburton, AEON
James cataloged one type of experience: the personal; the intimate. The subtitle, “A Study in Human Nature,” is perhaps a more accurate reflection of its contents. James’s subject was not theories of heaven nor different types of congregations; it was each congregant at 3 a.m., staring at the ceiling, alone. His sensitivity was to the reasons we feel compelled to believe — among them our “conscience,” “helplessness” and “incompleteness” — and how belief might reward those reasons.
In Praise of William James
by John Williams, NYTimes
A psychologist and philosopher (and oldest brother of the novelist Henry), James was not a follower of any church, and had little academic interest in institutional religion, but he was obsessively curious about the inner experiences of believers.
“Is there in life any purpose which the inevitable death which awaits me does not undo and destroy?” (Leo Tolstoy)
To James, the very broad category of religious experience was inextricably human, and to attempt to argue people out of it would have struck him as similar to trying to argue someone out of right-handedness. “Taking creeds and faith-states together, as forming ‘religions,’ ” he wrote, “and treating these as purely subjective phenomena, without regard to the question of their ‘truth,’ we are obliged, on account of their extraordinary influence upon action and endurance, to class them amongst the most important biological functions of mankind.”
“Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.”
The Solstice is Thursday, December 21.
‘A solstice is always a powerful time to release the past and to welcome and anchor in a new cycle complete with a new set of intentions, resolutions and goals. This solstice in particular is potent for stretching your dreams, thinking outside the box and putting yourself out there just a little bit more. The most important thing is to make sure you honor this transition and make time to work with the energies.
Do a ritual of some sort, burning a writing of what you are releasing and leaving behind as well as concretely anchoring and welcoming a new cycle, a new dream and what you wish to manifest and upgrade for yourself from now on. You can do this visually by writing or drawing or creating something of an offering to put on your altar or give to the fire. Whether in the northern or southern hemisphere, think of the solstice as a time of reset, a powerful transition from the past into the future. Think of it as the beginning of a new cycle with new influences and new opportunities. The more aware and present you are with the idea of a reset and transition, the more powerful the solstice will be for you.
In this time frame we are in, we have an opportunity to really move from one vibrational frequency to another, upgrading everything in the process. The price is your willingness to let go for good of what holds you back. Only you know what that is.’
What to Remember When Waking
In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.
What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.
To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.
You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.
Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?
Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?
— David Whyte
We have three days.
AT&T has promised to ‘be good’ if the FCC overturns Net Neutrality rules. The problem is, we can’t trust AT&T. Or Verizon. Or Comcast.
If the five-member FCC commission votes on Thursday, Dec. 14th, to overturn Net Neutrality, consumers will eventually be asking, “What just happened?’ Slate Magazine gives us some clarity to the usually glossy-eyed Net Neutrality complexity.
What will an internet without Net Neutrality be like? We can look to other countries for the answer.
<The scary part is that it might happen piecemeal, with one free service here and one slower website there.>
“…studies suggest that providers can find many ways to extract fees from subscribers, steer their buying habits, and charge websites and online platforms to get priority access to internet users.
In many countries without net neutrality, mobile plans are the worst culprit. Take what happens in Guatemala, for example. “Many people will have two SIM cards there because on one SIM card they can access WhatsApp for free, and on another SIM card you access Facebook for free,” says Renata Avila, a senior adviser at the Web Foundation. If you buy a small amount of data that gets used up quickly, WhatsApp will still be accessible after the cap is reached, but not the rest of the internet. If you do try to access other websites or apps, you’ll be prompted to pay more. Similar mobile internet plans exist in Balkan countries, Avila said, but there you might buy a SIM card that favors Viper, a popular messaging service in that region.
This practice is also common throughout the European Union. The EU has net neutrality laws, but they don’t outright prohibit mobile plans that allow users to only access certain apps without cutting into their data plans. Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, described the situation in Portugal in a tweet that went viral in October. The tweet showed a page from Meo, a mobile and home internet provider in Portugal that offers various packages made up of websites and apps that don’t cut into your monthly data plan.
Beyond not charging for access to particular websites or apps, there are also cases of internet providers straight-up blocking access to certain kinds of apps. In Morocco in 2016, multiple internet providers agreed to block voice over internet services, like Skype or WhatsApp, potentially in an effort to push users to subscribe to phone plans. Unhappy Moroccans heavily protested the ban, which was lifted months later.
In a particularly egregious case in Canada in 2005, the telecom company Telus blocked access to a union website that promoted a labor strike against the internet company. In 2012, AT&T announced it would block U.S. users’ access to FaceTime on iPhones unless they paid for a higher data plan, but it reversed course after consumer advocates sent complaints to the FCC.
The internet could become more homogenized in turn, as fewer people continue to contribute to niche communities.”
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said that the plan to roll back net neutrality is “worse than one could imagine.” She wrote an op-ed piece for the LATimes titled, “I’m on the FCC. Please stop us from killing net neutrality.”
Killing net neutrality, she adds, is “a lousy idea. And it deserves a heated response from the millions of Americans who work and create online every day.”
“Your broadband provider could carve internet access into fast and slow lanes, favoring the traffic of online platforms that have made special payments and consigning all others to a bumpy road. Your provider would have the power to choose which voices online to amplify and which to censor. The move could affect everything online, including the connections we make and the communities we create. This is not the internet experience we know today. Americans should prevent the plan from becoming the law of the land.”
3 Republicans (all men) are expected to vote along party lines against Net Neutrality — 2 Democrats (both women) are in favor of keeping Net Neutrality.
The chair, Ajit Pai, appointed to the commison by President Obama ini 2012 on the recommendation of Mitch McConnell, was appointed to chair this year by DT. He is leading the ‘end Net Nuetrality’ charge. Verizon is being targeted, a call-to-action explains, because Pai “is a former top lawyer for Verizon, and the company has been spending millions on lobbying and lawsuits to kill net neutrality so they can gouge us all for more money.”
Here’s what we can do:
CALL Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman
Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a concerned customer from [Hailey].
[IF FCC]: I’m calling to express my disapproval that the FCC is trying to kill net neutrality and the strong Title II oversight of Internet Service Providers. Preserving an open internet is crucial for fair and equal access to the resources and information available on it. Thank you for your time and attention.
[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]
We only have 3 days to fight the FCC & the repeal of #NetNeutrality! Thanks to John Oliver there’s a SUPER easy way to do this. Here’s what you can do – takes less than a minute. 1. Go to gofccyourself.com (the shortcut John Oliver made to the hard-to-find FCC comment page) 2. Click on “express” 3. Hit “enter” after you put in your name & info so it registers. 4. In the comment section write, “I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs.” 5. Click to submit, done. – Make sure you hit submit at the end! If you want to spread the word write “congratulations” in the comments so that FB’s silly algorithm puts it at the top of feeds.
‘To love what death can touch.’
-Scott Frank, Godless
‘If God is vast and boundless as the ocean, how can a tiny drop like man imagine what he is?
‘In Peter Turchin’s research, two of the big factors that predict the fall of a civilization are rising debt and declining or stagnating living standards of the masses. The new Republican tax bill pushes us in the wrong direction on both counts.’
[Haidt is a social psychologist at NYU-Stern, and author of The Righteous Mind, reflections on how social & moral psychology can improve companies, universities,and societies.]
Peter Turchin: Entering the Age of Instability after Trump
Why social instability and political violence is predicted to peak in the 2020s
The presidential election which we have experienced, unfortunately, confirms this forecast. We seem to be well on track for the 2020s instability peak. And although the election is over, the deep structural forces that brought us the current political crisis have not gone away. If anything, the negative trends seem to be accelerating.
In sum, we are not called to love God or the world. Rather, we are called to love God in the world. We love God by loving the world. We love God through and with the world. But this turns out to be a kenotic, a sacrificial love. —Sallie McFague 
‘A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. She gives most who gives with joy.’
“The key to kenosis is knowing that your life is not about you. Everything—each breath, heartbeat, morsel of food, seeming success—is gift. We are entirely dependent upon God’s loving us into being, and keeping us in being, interdependent with all other beings. Your life does not really belong to you, as countercultural and difficult as that is to understand in our individualistic, competitive, consumer culture. As the Trinity reveals, life and love are poured into us that we may pour into others.”
Sallie McFague, Blessed Are the Consumers: Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint (Fortress Press: 2013), 9, 22.
“If we are to remain true to our heritage and who we claim to be, we must stand with DREAMERS. It’s long past time for Congress to pass the #DreamAct Act now!”
-Eric Holder, former US Attorney General
Meditation readings today:
‘I destroy the ignorance-born darkness by the shining lamp of wisdom.’
‘I am resolved today to see the good in everyone and in every event.’
Wait. Even Mitch McConnell? And Ajit Pai? The universe really knows how to lay out a challenge.
Pai is the FCC chair appointed to the commission by President Obama in May 2012, at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell. He was appointed to chair by DT. He’s the one trying to eliminate Net Nuetrality. The five-member commission votes on Thursday, Dec. 14th.
“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Science of Mind:
Faith in the justice of the universe is my altar. Up this altar I lay my offering of peace [and kindness].
‘If nothing goes forth from me that can hurt, then nothing can return to me that can harm.’
The humility of the manger is the common place in every person’s life. It is here, in the common place, that we must find the good and, finding it here, we shall also discover that the larger issues of our experience are overshadowed by this same good that we have discovered in the common place.
‘You and I should form the habit of taking definite time each day to pray for peace with justice, for there is not peace possible without justice. […] We should not only pray, we should act, each contributing the best they have to the common purpose, each willing to make any sacrifice necessary…for there can be no individual self-preservation without the preservation of all.’
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
In this current cultural climate and in my new position as a social justice minister, I’ve found myself continually pondering what it is that motivates us to take a stand for the rights of others. How do we do this ethically and not paternalistically? I’m discovering that my spiritual path deepens greatly when I’m connecting my own identity to the identity of the whole, realizing that who I am extends far beyond the cones of this ego self. I am the Oneness that Holmes spoke of above: Self-preservation does not exist without the preservation of all. The wellness and dignity of the whole is an inextricable truth of Oneness.
Taking action on this belief can be difficult because to be a presence for healing and equity, we must become aware of what needs to heal in us and the unconscious ways we may be perpetuating inequity without meaning to.
There are many ways in which I have been sheltered from the inequities of the world because I have grow up in a society that unconsciously perpetuates systems that benefit some to the detriment of others. In other ways, as a person of color, I have experienced what race – and ethnicity – based inequity feels like.
To be in a place where I am genuinely present to creating a world of peace and prosperity for all means that I also am invited to be in a place where I get to explore my own privileges and inequities. I get to be in conversation with people who also want to heal and be agents of helping. These conversations can be uncomfortable and painful, but they are also medicine.
I think as we strive to create a world that works for all, we are being offered an invitation to heal and to be medicine in this world through vulnerable communication with folks who have different experiences than we do.
-Re. Masando Hiraoka
Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living in New Mexico
‘To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.’
‘I love the night, when the entire universe opens up.’
´*.¸.• .¸. ❥❥¸¸.☆ .¸.¸¸.☆¨¯`❥❥