Café Communication

Who among the guards?

May 12, 2018

‘Out of Many One’

E Pluribus Unum

13 letters-13 colonies.

This was considered the U.S. motto until the mid ‘1950’s when this nation adopted ‘In God We Trust’, right around the same time the government added, ‘One nation under God’ to the pledge of allegiance.

With the unity of the 13 colonies the country was ideally formed out of many to become one nation.

‘The philosophy of the Declaration, that government is set up by the people to secure their life, liberty, and happiness, and is to be overthrown when it no longer does that, is often traced tot he ideas of John Locke, in his [1689] Second Treatise on Government.

It talked about government and political rights, but ignored the existing inequalities in property. And How cold people truly have equal rights, with start differences in wealth?’ (A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn, p. 73)

The preacher Theodore Parker told his congregation ‘money is this day the strongest power of the nation’ (p. 221).

‘The memory of the oppressed people cannot be taken away’ (p. 443).

Langston Hughes wrote in a 1930’s poem, ‘Lenox Avenue Mural’:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—

and then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over—

like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Yes, Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election, at the very least, with disinformation on the Internet—interjecting false ads, the majority of which did not necessary align with a particular candidate, but were motivated by social distruption: race.

AXIOS

Additionally, “900 [race-related spots] were posted after the November election through May 2017”.

CNN:

In the days after the November 2016 election, an increase in racist slogans and hateful messages was reported, especially in schools. The Southern Poverty Law Center found 867 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the 10 days after the Nov. 8 election.

Two recent examples, May 2018:

https://mobile.twitter.com/shaunking/status/994594065919324160

Shaun King on Twitter: “That is Anthony Wall, in prom clothes, being lifted off the ground and choked by a Warsaw County police officer @WaffleHouse. He had just taken his little sister to prom. And yet again @WaffleHouse called the cops. Anthony, of course was unarmed & non-violent.

Perhaps a more direct caption: #Lynching2018

’People in time, in friendly communities might create a new, diversified, nonviolent culture, in which all forms of personal and group expression would be possible. Men and women, black and white, old and young, could then cherish their differences as positive attributes, not as reasons for domination. New values of cooperation and freedom might then show up in the relations of people, the upbringing of children.

To do all that, in the complex conditions of control in the United States, would require combining the energy of all previous movements in American history—of labor insurgents, black rebels, Native Americans, women, young people—along with the new energy of an angry middle class. People would need to begin to transform their immediate environments—the workplace, the family, the school, the community—by a series of struggles against absentee authority, to give control of these places to the people who live and work there’ (Zinn, p. 639).

Rise like lions after slumber

In unvanquishable number!

Shake your chains to earth, like dew

Which in sleep had fallen on you—

Ye are many; they are few!

Shelley

A community paradigm.

May 9, 2018

There is simplicity…ease…in kindness, inclusivity, and  compassion. Complexity and chaos are created when we allow ‘other’, dominance, greed, and power.

Grace is born in community, communication, and care.

A new paradigm, therefore, is created locally, which in turn effects the collective.

Not government, or policy, or military.

We, the people, can embrace our own dialogue, and meaning, without outside influences born of profit, and alternative motive.

’It’s not that there are no difference—the world is made of infinite variety—rather it is the seizing of differences, the fearing of differences, that keeps us from feeling grace.

Paradoxically, everything in life touches the same center through its uniqueness, the way no two souls are the same, though every soul breathes the same air.

The mind’s worst diseas: the endless deciding between want and don’t want, the endless war between for and against.’ -Mark Nepo

‘Living in community means living in such a way that others can access me and influence my life and that I can get “out of myself” and serve the lives of others. Community is a world where brotherliness and sisterliness are possible. By community, I don’t mean primarily a special kind of structure, but a network of relationships. On the whole, we live in a society that’s built not on community and cooperation but on individuality, greed, and competition—often resulting in oppressive economic systems, unnecessary suffering, and environmental devastation.

Today we might call powers and principalities our collective cultural moods, mass consciousness, or any institutions considered “too big to fail.” These are our idols. We are mostly oblivious to this because we take all our institutions as normal civilization and absolutely inevitable. It is the “absolutely” that makes us blind and allows us to make passing structures into complete idols. Because we partly profit from these frequently collective evils, it doesn’t look like evil at all—but something good and necessary. For instance, I’ve never once heard a sermon against the tenth commandment, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods,” because in our culture that’s the only game in town. It is called capitalism, and we live comfortably because of it. It is only our unwillingness to question such powers and principalities, or in any way limit them (which is worship), which makes them into a false god. “The angels of darkness must always disguise themselves as angles of light.

(see 2 Corinthians 11:(14-15)

The individual is largely helpless and harmless standing against the system of disguise and illusion. Thankfully, we’re seeing many people, religious and secular, from all around the world, coming together to form alternative communities for sharing resources, living simply, and imagining a sustainable and nonviolent future. It is hard to imagine there will be a future without them.’

-Richard Rohr

 

 

Community. Local and global.

May 8, 2018

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. —Martin Luther King, Jr. 

President Barack Obama would often recite this quote, adding it “zig-zags”. Today, post 2016, the arc is seemingly particularly long, perhaps longer. And it is ‘zagging.’


I remember the happiness among the Iranian people after the Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iranian Deal, was signed, and the sanctions on their economy lifted. How they praised America and their feelings of future prosperity.

The United States acts as though it exists on this higher moral plane, when in reality, ethically, and compassionately, our behaviors, particularly among our government, are subpar, and so much karma to endure. Contemporaneously we live in ignorance and within a piouty weakening our collective community fiber. However, “we must not get distracted, and we must continue to do our spiritual work to embody the qualities that are seeking to emerge as we manifest the life we are called to live from the inside out. There are not shortcuts” [Sheila Thomas, RScP, Berkeley, California].

And the arc is indeed long.

The Beloved Community

By Richard Rohr

‘As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw clearly in the last years of his life, we face a real choice between chaos and community—we need a moral revolution. If that was true fifty years ago, then we must be clear today: America needs a moral revival to bring about beloved community. —William J. Barber II 

I believe that “moral revival” is a natural outgrowth of realizing how connected we already are: what we do unto others or to the earth, we really do to ourselves. All created beings are included in this one Body of God. Protestant pastor and political leader Rev. Dr. William Barber writes:

The main obstacle to beloved community continues to be the fear that people in power have used for generations to divide and conquer God’s children who are, whatever our differences, all in the same boat. 

The goal of the spiritual journey is to discover and move toward connectedness and relationship on ever new levels, while also honoring diversity. We may begin by making connections with family and friends, with nature and animals, and then grow into deeper connectedness with those outside our immediate circle, especially people of races, religions, economic classes, gender, and sexual orientation that are different from our own. Finally, we can and will experience this full connectedness as union with God. For some it starts the other way around: they experience union with God—and then find it easy to unite with everything else.

Without connectedness and communion, we don’t exist fully as our truest selves. Becoming who we really are is a matter of learning how to become more and more deeply connected.

Inherent Goodness can always uphold you if you can trust it. It is the trusting that is important. When we fall into Primal Love, we realize that everything is foundationally okay—and we are a part of that ever.”

In a culture that honors celebrity, a reality TV culture where it appears possible to become a president, for doing nothing, this can be difficult to accept [Thomas]. We must be in alignment with Universal Law and stay vigilant to what we think, say and do. We want the law to say “yes” to the highest idea of ourselves” [Thomas].’

We have so much ugly and hurtful Karma to answer for our in this country from our behaviors and injustices that generally preceded us, and specfically live contemporaneously.

“Karma is evolutionary action, its action that has an evolutionary impact in the sense that it affects your embodiment, your life and spirit in the future.  You never stay still, you go up or down in your quality” -Robert Thurman

‘Tuskegee Institute records the lynching of 3,436 blacks between 1882 and 1950. This is probably a small percentage of these murders, which were seldom reported, and led to the creation of the NAACP in 1909, an organization dedicated to passing federal anti-lynching laws. Through all this terror and carnage someone-many times a professional photographer-carried a camera and took pictures of the events. These lynching photographs were often made into postcards and sold as souvenirs to the crowds in attendance. These images are some of photography’s most brutal, surviving to this day so that we may now look back on the terrorism unleashed on America’s African-American community and perhaps know our history and ourselves better. The almost one hundred images reproduced here are a testament to the camera’s ability to make us remember what we often choose to forget [Amazon].’

NPR/Fresh Air

‘As the New Lynching Peach and Justice Memorial opens in Alabama, a look back on America’s history of racial terrorism, listening back to interviews with historian Philip Dray, author of At the Hands of Persons Unknown, and James Allen, who collected postcard “souvenirs” of lynchings for Without Sanctuary.’

https://www.npr.org/2018/05/04/608477810/as-new-lynching-memorial-opens-a-look-back-on-americas-history-of-racial-terrori

‘Although fairness and. Justice are beautiful gravitates by which we as human creatures try to live with one another, the storm and the germ, the termites eating the foundation of your home, the errant stone breaking your windshield, the wave swamping your little boat—these molecules of experience do not understand what is fair. They just bombard us in the endless cosmic dance of life that just keeps happening. […] Life is not fair, but unbending in its capacity to change us; that compassion is fair and feeling is just—that we are not responsible for all that befalls us [or maybe we are] only for how we receive it and for how we hold each other up along the way.’

-Mark Nepo

Cat.

May 6, 2018

‘A year had passed and everything was just as it was a year before
As if was a year before
Until the gift that someone left, a basket by my door
And in there lay the fairest little baby crying to be fed
I got down on my knees and kissed the moon and star
on his head

☾ ☆

As years went by the boy grew high and the village looked on in awe
They’d never seen anything like the boy with the moon and star before
And people would ride from far and wide just to seek the word he spread
I’ll tell you everything I’ve learned
And love is all, he said.’

Collective consciousness.

May 5, 2018

‘The dynamic relationships in a family, classroom, workplace, or grassroots movement can have an evolutionary effect, creating new ways of thinking and being. Louis Savary and Patricia Berne share how Christopher Bache, a college professor, noticed what he called “collective consciousness” emerge when he gave assignments to small groups of students. Many showed abilities “as team members” that he hadn’t witnessed before in their individual work:

Bache recognized that each of the teams in his classroom had a life of its own . . . [and] enjoyed a kind of “collective consciousness.” They were thinking as one unit and each person seemed to have access to the consciousness of the others. When someone on the team made a good suggestion, everyone on the team seemed to recognize its value, so it became easy to implement with minimal discussion, without people taking sides, pro and con. 

Savary and Berne turn to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to explain how this happens:

Teilhard’s insight [that union differentiates] revealed that each student team had become a true unity, or “union.” It had also become a new being. . . . The team as a unit was more complex than any of the individuals in the team, and their shared consciousness was richer . . . than any of the team members.

Furthermore, that new being (the Third Self, or the team, itself) allowed each member to find a fuller identity and capacity within that team. Each student was, in Teilhard’s words, “differentiating” himself [or herself]. . . . In order to contribute to the success of the team, each member was challenged by that team spirit to manifest latent abilities in themselves. . . 

Love is the most powerful force or energy in the universe. That power is multiplied in relationships. Love’s potency is released most powerfully among people who have formed a relationship (a union). People who truly unite for a purpose beyond themselves become “differentiated” as they unite and work together in a shared consciousness to achieve their larger purpose.

In a true relationship, no one’s individuality is lost. It is increased. That is the beauty of Connections.
These unions that enjoy a collective consciousness become the launching pads for the next stage of evolution, as we learn consciously how to create them and use them. [2]

I see groups working creatively on many fronts, often outside church and political structures, with a growing capacity for what many call “intersectionality” (recognizing the interconnectedness of race, gender, and class). One wonderful example is the new Poor People’s Campaign led by Rev. William Barber and Rev. Liz Theoharis, and joined by people across the United States. They’re continuing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work to dismantle racism, poverty, and war. (Learn more about the Poor People’s Campaign and how you can join below today’s meditation.) Next week we’ll explore more of the generativity and healing that can happen within such community.’

-Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplations

~

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
Fifty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., people around the country are taking up his mantle, challenging systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation. We are compelled to stand with those on the margins. Rev. Dr. William Barber, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, and organizations across the United States are mobilizing thousands to mass non-violent civil disobedience from May 13-June 21 at state capitals and in Washington, D.C.
Learn more and sign the pledge at The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival poorpeoplescampaign.org

‘We find each other and pull.’

May 3, 2018

Feminine and masculine energies.

’When we are dominated by our male side (overrational and stoic, never showing our feelings), our feminine side (our deeper creative, receptive energies) becomes strident and stifled, explosive when finally allowed to surface.

Those who are contained and guarded—male or female—are somewhat frightened by those who are intuitive and expressive; just as those who are intuitive and expressive; just as those who are more readily impacted by what they feel find inexpressive quite suffocating. We find each other, and the stocks grow nervous, while the passionate sweat more.

This is part of life: we find each other and pull.

Too often, under the guise of being asked to be prepared and mature, we are seduced into watching over living, into naming over feeling, into understanding over experience. Yet, as two hands cup water to the mouth, we need both male and female energies to drink fully of this life.’

-Mark Nepo, Book of Awakening

Joy within me.

May 1, 2018

Joy has come to live with me. How can I be sad?

I do so love Thy presence, which is joy within me.

-Ernest Holmes

 

Be like the bird

That, pausing in her flight

Awhile on boughs too slight,

Feels them give way

Beneath her and yet sings,

Knowing that she had wings.

-Victor Hugo

 

Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your

grasp, but which if you will sit down quiet, may alight upon you.

-Nathanial Hawthorne

 

Joy is the realization of the truth of one-ness, the oneness of our soul with

the Supreme love.

-Ravindranath Tagore

 

Happy May. Happy new birth. Happy love.

 

…unfolding what is within.

April 29, 2018

The physical structure of the universe is love.

—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) 

 

Wrapped within young leaves: the sound of water.

—Soseki

 

”Our gift already unfolded. Embedded in the seed is the blossom. embedded in the womb is the child fully grown. Embedded in the impulse to care is the peace of love realized. Embedded in the edge of risk and fear is the authenticity that makes life worth living.

For as dust owes its path to wind, we, as human beings, are asked to acknowledge that something larger encircles us and prompts us to unfold.

There is a gravity of spirit that pulls the essence of who we are into being. Our job, like all our sister creatures, is to find the abundance of air and water and light, and to unfold what is already within us.”

-Mark Nepo

Undefeated.

April 25, 2018

“I am not even sure who you are. Are you, at this moment, sitting on Capitol Hill or in a state house? Are you a young teacher in Maryland wondering if you should run for something? Are you a volunteer mentoring students on the west side of Chicago? Are you browsing through a bookstore in Atlanta, wholly unaware of what your future holds? I don’t know if you are a Democrat or Republican or something else, I just know you are out there somewhere.”

And I can’t wait to meet you.

 

Outwaiting the cloud.

April 19, 2018

Science of Mind:

There is a place where we begin and leave off physically, but there is no place where we begin and leave off mentally or spiritually.

If we do not merge with others in cooperation, in unity, and in happiness, we may be certain that there is something in us that feels it has been rebuffed or rejected.

Mark Nepo:

In truth, the heart, like the Earth, is continually blanketed by ever-changing atmospheres that come and go between who we are and how we leave our days.

If we could only suspend our judgement when clouded in the heart. For many skepticisms are born from conclusions draw while unable to see, as if any kind of understanding will prevent the clouds from coming or going, again and again.

But no clouds last forever.

The Earth and all that grows from it knows this well. So does the heart and everything that grows from it, in spite of all our very understandable pains.

“Prince-elector, I’m not aware of that.”

April 14, 2018

Duke of Saxony: Well, if so, how do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?

Gutenberg: Prince-elector, we print indulgences.

Highlights From the Gutenberg Hearings
An empire’s potentates size up the risks of new technology

By Andrew Kahn

[slate.com]

Archbishop of Cologne: Let’s say I’m communicating with my friends using a printing press and indicate that I love a certain kind of chocolate. And all of a sudden I start seeing, all along the edges of my Bible, little decorations about chocolate: Jesus eating chocolate, apostles wrestling a bar of chocolate, a big letter A covered in flowers made out of chocolate. What if I don’t want to receive those illuminations?

Gutenberg: We’re considering letting users pay a small fee not to see the chocolate.

Trier: But consider if someone in another country—like Saxony, for example—if a man—a large, 400-pound man in Saxony—he hacked your pringus to put out papers with, written on the documents, the pope’s worst mistake and then he asked the devil to convince everybody, using these fake propagandas, to convince them against the pope?

Gutenberg: Prince—

Trier: And then we get the gosh-darned Thirty Years’ War.

[Gutenberg blinks.]

Brilliant. Full article:

https://slate.com/technology/2018/04/if-the-zuckerberg-hearing-were-the-gutenberg-hearing.html

 

“We hold the mystery of transformation…’

April 13, 2018

Richard Rohr, American Franciscan friar and author

”Being on the edge of the inside…”

“Your body is not an isolated, separate entity. We are our truest selves only in community—with our ancestors (carrying their stories and DNA), our natural environment, and our neighbors. We hold the mystery of transformation…”

Today Barbara Holmes continues reflecting on the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLMM) and their evolving, embodied way of fighting for justice:

As the millennials will tell you, “This is not your grandmother’s Civil Rights Movement (CRM).

”They are right. Although both the CRM and BLMM seek the betterment of life for black people and their communities and both resist oppression with contemplative practices and activism, they use different strategies and leadership models and seek different goals. . . .

The BLMM is a decentralized network of local organizations. . . . Patrisse Cullors, a founder of the BLMM, says, “We are not leaderless, we are leader-full.” [1] . . . It is difficult to infiltrate, undermine, or disrupt an organic movement that draws its power from regenerating communal cells. . . .

During the CRM, the blindness of dominant culture to the plight of the African American community meant that the message had to be delivered by one voice in language that white Americans could understand and support. Lives were at stake, and [Martin Luther] King’s biblical and patriotic references combined with his soaring oratory ignited the nation and inspired the movement.

Now, fifty plus years after the CRM, another approach is needed, and the BLMM like the LGBTQIA justice movements are updating the art of contemplative confrontation and noncompliance with the status quo . . . oppression and violence against black bodies. Today, the most respectable image that young protesters can offer is their authenticity, resolute voices, and pride in community and culture. . . . The BLMM uses disruption for transformation rather than the predictable politeness and political compromises that were part of the ordinary negotiations of social activists. . . .
They block traffic and refuse to allow “business as usual.” The response is not riot or violence, it is the twenty-first-century version of the sit-in. CRM activists got parade permits and stayed along the side of the road so as not to interfere with traffic. BLM activists “shut it down” with song, putting their bodies on the line. . . .

BLM activists are not singing “we shall overcome,” they are not saying “I am yet holding on” or “making a way out of no way” like the church mothers and fathers of old. They are saying “we ain’t gonna stop ‘til our people are free” and “I can’t breathe,” as they shut down malls and highways to stop the killing of young black men and women. [Far too often, by the very officers who are supposed to “protect and serve,” I might add.]

#

1935

April 11, 2018

Let America Be America Again

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean–
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today–O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home–
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay–
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain–
All, all the stretch of these great green states–
And make America again!

-Langston Hughes, 1902-1967

Spiritual healing.

April 4, 2018

Human Bodies

Bodily Knowing
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you lose hope, somehow you lose that vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream. —Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

“Deep knowing and presence do not happen with our thinking minds. To truly know something, our whole being must be open, awake, and present. We intuitively knew how to be present as babies. Psychologists now say there is no such thing as an infant. There’s only an infant/caregiver.

In the first several months, from the infant’s view, they are one and the same. Infants see themselves entirely mirrored in their family’s eyes; they soon believe and become this vision. Contemplative prayer offers a similar kind of mirroring, as we learn to receive and return the divine gaze.

In his book Coming to Our Senses, historian Morris Berman makes the point that our first experience of life is not merely a visual or audio one of knowing ourselves through other people’s facial and verbal responses; it is primarily felt in the body. He calls this feeling kinesthetic knowing. We know ourselves in the security of those who hold us, skin to skin. This early knowing is not so much heard, seen, or thought. It’s felt. 

Psychologists say that when we first begin to doubt and move outside of that kinesthetic knowing, we hold onto things like teddy bears and dolls. My little sister, Alana, had the classic security blanket as a baby. She dragged it everywhere until it was dirty and ragged, but we could not take it away from her. Children do such things to reassure themselves that they are still connected and one. But we all begin to doubt this primal union as the subject/object split of a divided world slowly takes over, usually by age seven. Body/mind/world/self all start getting split apart; we begin to see the basic fault lines in the world—and the rest of life will be spent trying to put it all back together again.

It seems we all must leave the Garden of Eden, the state of innocence and blissful, unconscious union. We can’t stay there, letting mother gaze at us forever. Unfortunately, if that primal knowing never happened at all, immense doubt arises about whether there even is a garden (“God”) where all things are one and good. When family systems disintegrate, people live with doubt and uncertainty. I am sure God fully understands. It is surely why Jesus says, “It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:2).

Hopefully, our parents’ early gaze told us we were foundationally beloved. But when we inevitably begin to see ourselves through eyes that compare, judge, and dismiss, then we need spirituality to help heal the brokenness of our identity and our world. True spirituality is always bringing us back to the original bodily knowing that is unitive experience, which is why you cannot do it all in the head!”

[Richard Rohr]


 

BA to BS

March 31, 2018

In April 1917, Marjory Stoneman Douglas boarded a train in Miami with a bunch of other charismatic suffragettes. Their destination was the state capital, Tallahassee, where they would eloquently make the case for women’s right to vote. “We could have been talking to a bunch of dead mackerel, for all the response we got,” said Douglas. She had little respect for the “wool-hat boys,” the condescending, small-minded boors who were the state representatives. The women’s entreaties fell on stupid ears, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas would later remark that she was speaking “over the heads of the audience, to a future generation.”

That generation is here.

  • Activist
  • Journalist
  • Author
  • Suffragette
  • Humanist

YES! Magazine

[full illustrated essay at http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/what-the-real-marjory-stoneman-douglas-would-do-20180329

The 5%.

“Your friendly reminder that dark matter comprises 25 percent of the mass energy budget of the cosmos, while dark energy comprise 70 percent, and the normal matter that you and I are made of is just a wee 5 percent. And it’s all connected by a cosmic web of filamentary bridges that stretch across millions of lightyears. Carry on.”

Natalie Batalha, NASA Astrophysicist

 

 

Care & Action

March 26, 2018

”…it’s about caring for our shared world, lest we let it sleep away through inattention and neglect. […] The active threats to that world have multiplied many times over. There’s a new urgency about paying attention and responding to what we see. The Powers that Be are intent on ‘disappearing’ so much that million of Americans care about—pristine wilderness, clean air and water, affordable health care for all, the social safety net, and mutual respect in the midst of diversity.”

Parker Palmer/On Being

What can a person do to help bring back the world?

We have to watch it and then look at a each other.

Together we hold it close and carefully save it, like a bubble that can disappear

if we don’t watch out.

-William Stafford

[full article: https://onbeing.org/blog/parker-palmer-to-watch-the-world-and-then-each-other]

_______

Reclaiming this nation starts with reclaiming our attention.

The next time you open up the newspaper or sit down in front of your computer or open an app on your phone to inform yourself about the day’s news, take a moment to set an intention of reading majority non-DT-related news. If you do read a piece related to him, attempt to privilege the information that is about his actions, not his style. When you are in a conversation with someone and it veers down the path of deconstructing something DT has said, intentionally steer it away. Take something you learned while de-prioritizing him and offer it up to your conversation partner. Be part of the solution — highlighting the world around us that has been deeply and poisonously overshadowed by the political climate of the last year and more.

Media obviously has a role to play here, but so do all of us. Our consumption patterns determine what media producers focus on during the next cycle. What we talk about with our friends, neighbors, families all contribute to either feeding or starving this obsession with big politics, as opposed to science, art, our communities, and so much more.

I’m not advocating for disengagement. There’s never been a more important time, at least in my lifespan, for citizens to lean in hard to our duty — to be aware, to be awake, to take action. But obsessing over tweets doesn’t count as civic duty. It’s rubbernecking, not awareness building, and it’s making us feel more disconnected than ever before. Reclaiming this nation starts with reclaiming our attention, our daily media practices, our everyday conversations.”

-Courtney Martin, Columnist

“…those giving more.”

March 21, 2018

“With all the abundance we are receiving, there coms a time when we are called to give it away. It’s like breathing—you can only inhale for along.

Giving creates the space for receiving.

And giving creates within us a sense that we are doing our part. It says we are one with the whole.

We are all here to serve each other.

The happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more. [H. Jackson Brown Jr.]

Give from the abundance and courage of your heart.”

And be creative.

-Science of Mind

‘…the ‘whole-making spirit.’

March 17, 2018

☆The life pouring through us, pumping our heart and breathing through our lungs, did not begin at our birth or conception. Like every particle in every atom and molecule of our bodies, it goes back through time to the first splitting and spinning of the stars. —Joanna Macy

☆Our inner spiritual world cannot be activated without experience of the outer world of wonder for the mind, beauty for the imagination, and intimacy for the emotions. —Thomas Berry

Viriditas

Richard Rohr:

Long ago, St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), named a Doctor of the Church in 2012, communicated creation spirituality through music, art, poetry, medicine, gardening, and reflections on nature. She wrote in her famous book, Scivias:
You understand so little of what is around you because you do not use what is within you. 

This is key to understanding Hildegard and is very similar to Teresa of Ávila’s understanding of the soul. Without using the word, Hildegard recognized that the human person is a microcosm with a natural affinity for or resonance with its macrocosm, which many call God. Our little world reflects the big world. The key word here is resonance. Contemplative prayer allows your mind to resonate with what is visible and right in front of you. Contemplation erases the separateness between the seer and the seen.

Hildegard often used the word viriditas, the greening of things from within, similar to what we now call photosynthesis. She recognized a readiness in plants to receive the sun and to transform it into energy and life. She also saw an inherent connection between the physical world and the divine Presence. This connection translates into energy that is the soul and seed of everything, an inner voice calling you to “Become who you are; become all that you are.” This is our “life wish” or what Carl Jung called the “whole-making spirit.”
Hildegard is a wonderful example of someone who lives safely inside an entire cosmology, a universe where the inner shows itself in the outer, and the outer reflects the inner, where the individual reflects the cosmos, and the cosmos reflects the individual. Hildegard said, “O Holy Spirit, you are the mighty way in which every thing that is in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, is penetrated with connectedness, penetrated with relatedness.” [2] It is truly a Trinitarian universe, with all things whirling toward one another: from orbits, to gravity, to ecosystems, to sexuality.

Indeed, for Hildegard nature was a mirror for the soul and for God. This mirroring changes how we see and experience reality. Later, Bonaventure (1217-1274) wrote: “In the soul’s journey to God we must present to ourselves the whole material world as the first mirror through which we may pass over to the Supreme. “ The Dominican Meister Eckhart (1260-1327) said the same: “If humankind could have known God without the world, God would never have created the world.” [5]

Nature is not a mere scenic backdrop so humans can take over the stage. Creation is in fact a full participant in human transformation, since the outer world is absolutely needed to mirror the true inner world. There are not just two sacraments, or even seven; the whole world is a sacrament.

[Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart, ed. Maurice O’Connell Walshe, rev. Bernard McGinn (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2009), 275.]

When we look down on the Earth from space, we see this amazing, indescribably beautiful planet. It looks like a living, breathing organism. But it also at the same time, looks extremely fragile.—Ron Garan, NASA Astronaut

I have set before you life and death, therefore choose life. —Deuteronomy 30:19

For in the beginning…

March 10, 2018

Science of Mind

’It all starts in love, and it all fades into love. Love is all there is. Some people may have an issue with using the word God. That’s perfectly all right. Substitute the word love for God, or Gaia, or Spirit. In doing so, scripture takes on a different feeling. For example, in the beginning, Love created the heavens and the earth.

Love is stronger than any force in the Universe. Love—the deep, unconditional love—has the power to change everything.

When we love the whole race with the whole heart, then we shall enter the presence of [love] who is love. -Christian D. Larson

 

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