January 21, 2019
If I can help somebody, as I travel along
If I can help somebody, with a word or song
If I can help somebody, from doing wrong
No, my living shall not be in vain
No, my living shall not be in vain
No, my living shall not be in vain
If I can help somebody, as I’m singing the song
You know, my living shall not be in vain
-Mahalia Jackson Sings the Best-Loved hymns of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“God always sends us a comforter, and every time the Nego gets despaired he can think about a great Negro in his time that was unafraid–that was a great leader. God always sends us a comforter–we can follow in his footsteps, like we follow in Jesus’ footsteps. You understand? We can just look back and say our hearts are not afraid. Look what Dr. King did for us. Look at the Southern Christian leadership and many people who have helped the Souther Christian leadership. Look how the Lord touched their hearts. You know, God can pull the spear of hate out of people’s hearts if He wants to. But God had let Martin do just what he wanted him to do.”
-Mahalia Jackson, 1968
[Mahalia Jackson performing on the march in Washington, August 28, 1963.]
“I been baked and I been scorned/ I’m gonna tell my Lord/ When I get home/ Just how long you’ve been treating me wrong,” she sang as a preface to Dr. King’s “I’ve got a dream” speech before 200,000 people in Washington DC at the Lincoln Memorial.
As the elite descend on Davos, Switzerland, for this week’s World Economic Forum, two stark stats:
- Wealth held by the world’s billionaires has grown from $3.4 trillion in 2009, right after the meltdown, to $8.9 trillion in 2017. (UBS and PwC Billionaires Insights via Bloomberg)
- The 3.8 billion people who make up the world’s poorest half saw their wealth decline by 11% last year. (Oxfam, which works to alleviate poverty, via AP)
A new display of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s papers in Atlanta “provides insight into the slain civil rights leader’s thought processes as he drafted some of his most well-known speeches and notable sermons,” AP’s Kate Brumbach writes:
- “The Meaning of Hope: The Best of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection,” opened this weekend at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, in the Voice to the Voiceless gallery.
- “There are drafts of his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance and ‘Beyond Vietnam’ speeches and of his eulogy for four girls who died when Ku Klux Klan members bombed a church in Birmingham, Alabama.”
“In drafts and outlines of speeches and sermons, both typed and written out longhand, words and entire lines are crossed out and rewritten.”
- “Even an already published copy of ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ is marked with further handwritten edits.”
- “Also included in the exhibition are King’s school transcripts — including one from Crozer Theological Seminary where he got a C in public speaking.”
Remembered as a great orator and a champion for human rights, Martin Luther King, Jr. also was a deep thinker on economics.
Between the lines: King’s philosophy has often been painted as a socialist because he advocated for the redistribution of wealth, referenced Karl Marx and even called for a “guaranteed annual income.” But King repudiated socialism and communism, noting in his 1967 speech “Where Do We Go From Here” that when it came to communism, “I have to reject that.”
“What I’m saying to you this morning is communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social. And the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism, but in a higher synthesis.”
January 20, 2019
Descending into the crowed, the individual loses his personality and his character and perhaps even his moral dignity as a human being. Contempt for the “crowd” is by no means contemporary for mankind. The crowd is below man. The crowd devours the human that is in us to make us the members of a many-headed beast. That is why the monastery builds itself in the wilderness: cuts off communications with the world, and with the press and the radio, which too often are simply the voice of the vast aggregation that is something less than human. As a specialized, spiritual society, the monastic community must take care to form itself carefully in the atmosphere of solitude and detachment in which the seeds of faith and charity have a chance to sink deep roots and grow without being choked out by thorns, or crushed under the wheels of trucks and cars.
-The Silent Life
Nathan Philips, Omaha Nation, Vietnam Veteran:
“I heard, I heard them saying, ‘Build that wall, build that wall.’ You know, this is indigenous land, we’re not supposed to have walls here, we never did, for a millennium, before anyone came here we never had walls, we never had a prison. You know, we always took care of our elders, we took care of our children, we always provided for them, you know. We taught them right from wrong. I wish I could see that energy of those young men, put that energy into, you know, to make this country really, really great, you know. Helping those that are hungry.”
A story about Nathan from 2008.
An event captured on tape, obviously cruel in nature, is now being polarized onto a political side, those who wear red hats, and those who do not. It isn’t the act, right or wrong being judged, it is the ideology. It is clear how this young student was treating a native elder, as were his schoolmates…long or short version. And justice, again, belongs to those who can afford it, including hiring the services of a PR firm to spin what we can plainly see.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” –MLK
January 19, 2019
[Seen at the Women’s March 2019]
Eric Liu believes that we are on the precipice of a civic awakening. Even prior to the US presidential election, he watched as global movements rose up against established hierarchies and institutions. This inspired Liu to compose a guide for citizens who sought to create real, lasting change. The result was his new book, You’re More Powerful Than You Think.
Protests and marches are only the beginning of a movement. Truly knowing how to wield citizen power requires a deeper understanding of power itself.
Around the planet, great numbers of everyday citizens
are pushing back against concentrated, monopolized,
“Online activism is necessary, but completely insufficient,” Liu said. “What we’ve got to do to revive the body politic and to revive civic life is to use digital means for analog ends.” He mentioned the Tea Party model, a grassroots effort started on social media that made waves in congressional elections.
Despite their distinct cries, movements like Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, and Black Lives Matter had one thing in common: they were the product of decades of radical inequality. “Around the planet, great numbers of everyday citizens are pushing back against concentrated, monopolized, institutionalized power,” Liu said. This will not be an easy fight. Those with power are unlikely to concede willingly. Changing the game will require leveraging the power of citizens who stay awake and show up.
Building America’s Next Great Awakening
January 15, 2019
This country… needs… no thin Idealist, no coarse Realist, but a man whose eye reads the heavens, while his feet step firmly on the ground, and his hands are strong and dexterous for the use of human implements… a man of universal sympathies, but self-possessed; a man who knows the region of emotion, though he is not its slave; a man to whom this world is no mere spectacle or fleeting shadow, but a great, solemn game, to be played with good heed, for its stakes are of eternal value, yet who, if his play be true, heeds not what he loses by the falsehood of others; a man who hives from the past, yet knows that its honey can but moderately avail him; whose comprehensive eye scans the present, neither infatuated by its golden lures, nor chilled by its many ventures; who possesses prescience, the gift which discerns tomorrow — when there is such a man for America, the thought which urges her on will be expressed.
From Maria Popova:
‘At age six, Margaret Fuller was reading in Latin. At twelve, she was conversing with her father in philosophy and pure mathematics. By fifteen, she had mastered French, Italian, and Greek, and was reading two or three lectures in philosophy every morning for mental discipline. In her short life, Fuller — one of the central figures in my book Figuring, and the person whom Emerson considered his greatest influence — would go on to write the foundational treatise of American women’s emancipation movement, author the most trusted literary and art criticism in America, work as the first female editor for a major New York newspaper and the only woman in the newsroom, advocate for prison reform and African American voting rights, and become America’s first foreign war correspondent, trekking through war-torn Rome while seven months pregnant. In her advocacy for African American, Native American, and women’s rights, Fuller would ardently espouse the simple, difficult truth that “while any one is base, none can be entirely free and noble.”
Ursula K.Le Guin: the invention of women, when when every woman was man.
Fuller left her native New England to journey westward into the largely unfathomed frontiers of the country. She returned home transformed, awakened to new social, political, and existential realities. Eager to supplement her observations with historical research, she persuaded the Harvard library to grant her access to its book collection — the largest in the nation. No woman had previously been admitted for more than a tour. She then set about relaying her impressions and insights, ranging from a stunning portrait of Niagara Falls to a poignant account of the fate of the displaced Native American tribes with whom she sympathized and spent time. This became Fuller’s first book, Summer on the Lakes — part travelogue, part anthropological study, and part political treatise.’
Figuring explores the complexities, varieties, and contradictions of love, and the human search for truth, meaning, and transcendence, through the interwoven lives of several historical figures across four centuries — beginning with the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and ending with the marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who catalyzed the environmental movement. Stretching between these figures is a cast of artists, writers, and scientists — mostly women, mostly queer — whose public contribution has risen out of their unclassifiable and often heartbreaking private relationships to change the way we understand, experience, and appreciate the universe. Among them are the astronomer Maria Mitchell, who paved the way for women in science; the sculptor Harriet Hosmer, who did the same in art; the journalist and literary critic Margaret Fuller, who sparked the feminist movement; and the poet Emily Dickinson.
Emanating from these lives are larger questions about the measure of a good life and what it means to leave a lasting mark of betterment on an imperfect world: Are achievement and acclaim enough for happiness? Is genius? Is love? Weaving through the narrative is a set of peripheral figures — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Caroline Herschel, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman — and a tapestry of themes spanning music, feminism, the history of science, the rise and decline of religion, and how the intersection of astronomy, poetry, and Transcendentalist philosophy fomented the environmental movement.
How can we know this and still succumb to the illusion of separateness, of otherness? This veneer must have been what the confluence of accidents and atoms known as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., saw through when he spoke of our “inescapable network of mutuality,” what Walt Whitman punctured when he wrote that “every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
There are infinitely many kinds of beautiful lives.
So much of the beauty, so much of what propels our pursuit of truth, stems from the invisible connections — between ideas, between disciplines, between the denizens of a particular time and a particular place, between the interior world of each pioneer and the mark they leave on the cave walls of culture, between faint figures who pass each other in the nocturne before the torchlight of a revolution lights the new day, with little more than a half-nod of kinship and a match to change hands.
January 13, 2019
by Mary Oliver
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save.
“We are who we protect. Who we stand up for.”
“Sin as such does not exist. You only bring it into manifestation when you act in ways that are adulterous in nature. It is for this very reason that the Good has come among you pursuing its own essence within nature in order to reunite everything to its origin.”
“All of nature with its forms and creatures exist together and are interwoven with each other. They will be resolved back, however, to their own proper origin, for the compositions of matter return to the original roots of their nature. Those who ears, let them hear this.”
In the Near East “wisdom teacher” is a recognized spiritual occupation. I was taught that there were only two categories of religious authority: one could be a priest or a prophet. That may be how the tradition filtered down to us in the West. But within the wider Near East (including Judaism itself), there was also a third, albeit unofficial, category: a moshel moshelim, or teacher of wisdom, one who taught the ancient traditions of the transformation of the human being.
They spoke to people in the language that people spoke, the language of story rather than law.
Jesus not only taught within this tradition, he turned it end for end. Before we can appreciate the extraordinary nuances he brought to understanding human transformation, we need first to know something about the context in which he was working.
Jesus was not a priest. He had nothing to do with the temple hierarchy in Jerusalem, and he kept a respectful distance from most ritual observances. Nor was he a prophet in the usual sense of the term: a messenger sent to the people of Israel to warn them of impending political catastrophe in an attempt to redirect their hearts to God. Jesus was not that interested in the political fate of Israel, nor would he accept the role of Messiah continuously being thrust upon him.
Rather, he stayed close to the ground of wisdom: the transformation of human consciousness. He asked timeless and deeply personal questions: What does it mean to die before you die? How do you go about losing your little life to find the bigger one? Is it possible to live on this planet with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mirror Divine Being itself?
These are the wisdom questions, and they are the entire field of Jesus’ concern.
-Cynthia Bourgeault, Episcopal priest and one of CAC’s [Center for Action & Contemplation] core faculty members.
January 12, 2019
‘In The Wizard of Oz, we meet a powerful heroine. Dorothy is resolute, focused and honest. A generous partner, leading her friends to where they seek to go.
“C’mon, let’s go,” is a great sentence, worth using more often.
It doesn’t require a permit, a badge or a degree.
It’s simply the work of someone who cares enough to lead, at least right now. And right now is enough.’
January 11, 2019
“The solitary is, first of all, one who renounces arbitrary social imagery. When his nation wins a war or sends a rocket to the moon, he can get along without feeling as if personally had won the war or hit the moon with a rocket. When his nation is rich and arrogant, he does not feel that he himself is more fortunate and more honest, as well as more powerful, that the citizens of other, more ‘backward’ nations. More than this, he is able to despise war and to see the futility of rockets to the moon in a way quite different and more fundamental from the way in which society may tolerate these negative views. That is to say, he despises the criminal, bloodthirsty arrogance of his own nation or class as much as that of ‘the enemy.’ He despises his own self-seeking aggressively as much as that of the politicians who hypocritically pretend they are fighting for peace.”
To our future.
only through the active energy of the intelligent few can the public at large become aware of and act upon new ideas.
propaganda bears the same relation to education as to business or political. It may be abused. It may be used to over-advertise an institution and to create in the public mind artificial values. There can be no absolute guarantee against its misuse.
a presidential candidate may be ‘drafted in response to ‘overwhelming popular demand,’ but it is well known that his name may be decided upon by half a dozen men sitting around a table in a hotel room.
governments, whether they are monarchical, constitutional, democratic or communist, depend upon acquiescent public opinion for the success of their effort and, in fact, government is government only by virtue of public acquiescence.
a civilization has become more complex, and as the need for invisible government has been increasingly demonstrated, the technical means have been invented and developed by which opinion may be regimented.
nowadays the successors of the rulers, those whose position or ability gives them power, can no longer do what they want without the approval of the masses, they find in propaganda a tool which is increasingly powerful in gaining that approval.
democracy is administered by the intelligent minority who know how to regiment and guide the masses.
an entire part, a platform, an international policy is sold to the public, or is not sold, on the basis of the intangible element of personality.
“Edward Bernay’s honest and practical manual provides much insight into some of the most powerful and influential institutions of contemporary industrial-state capitalist democracies.” -Noam Chomsky
Writing is a lonely occupation at best. Of course there are stimulating and even happy associations with friends and colleagues, but during the actual work of creation the writer cuts herself off from all others and confronts his subject alone. She moves into a realm where she has never been before — perhaps where no one has ever been. It is a lonely place, even a little frightening.
January 8, 2019
Llisten to a Llama
Llisten to your heart
Llaugh out lloud
Llearn something new each day
Llet go of the llittle things
Llook for the good win everyone
And always remember…
January 7, 2019
Read in current political context.
Every act carries with it a sequence, bringing the result of this action back to the self. This is what is meant by Karma, for Karma means the fruit of action.
Emerson called it the Law of Compensation.
Jesus proclaimed the same in his teaching that as we sow, so shall we reap.
Kwang-Tze tells us that he more we give to ohers the ore we have.
Walt Whitman also refers to this when he says, “The gift is most to the giver and comes back most to him”
This all means the return of the self to itself. The great apostle did not tell us to forget the self; he merely told us to also remember everyone else.
We are to view ourselves each in the other and behold God in all.
Man is all ready to come a god, and instead he appears at times to be a zombie.
A temperamentally angry man may be more inclined to anger than another. But as long as he remains sane he is still free not to be angry. His inclination to anger is simply a force in his character which can be turned to good or evil, according to his desires. If he desires what is evil, his temper will become a weapon of evil against other men and even against his own soul. If he desire what is good, his temper can become the controlled instrument for fighting the vile that is in himself and thus helping other men to overcome the obstacles which they meet in the world. He remains free to desire either good or evil.
January 4, 2019
It’s all around us. Sometimes, found in the most unusual places.
January 1, 2019
I know there is but One Mind, which is the mind of God, in which all people live and move and have their being.
I know there is a divine pattern for humanity and within this pattern there is infinite harmony and peace, cooperation, unity and mutual helpfulness.
I know that the mind of humankind, being one with the mind of God, shall discover the method, the way, and the means best fitted to permit the flow of Divine Love between individuals and nations.
Thus harmony, peace, cooperation, unity, and mutual helpfulness are experienced by all.
I know there will be a free interchange of ideas, of cultures, of spiritual concepts, of ethics, of educational systems and scientific discoveries–for all good belongs to all alike.
I know that, because Divine Mind has created us all, we are bound together in one infinite and perfect unity.
I know that all people and all nations will remain individual but united for the common purpose of promoting peace, happiness, harmony, and prosperity.
I know that deep within each person the Divine Pattern of perfect peace is already implanted.
Now declare that in each person and in leaders of thought everywhere this Divine Pattern moves into action and form, to the end that all nations and all people will live together in peace, harmony, and prosperity forever.
´*.¸.• .¸. ❥❥¸¸.☆¨¯ .¸.¸¸.☆¨¯`❥❥
This precious human birth is unrepeatable. So what will you do today, knowing that you are one of the rarest forms of life to ever walk the Earth? How will you carry yourself? What will you do with your hands? What will you ask and of whom?
Today you are a precious and rare and awake. It ushers us into grateful living. It makes hesitation useless. Grateful and awake, ask what you need to know now. Say what you feel now. Love what you love now.
December 24, 2018
“The Light in which we are one does not change.”
Former Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry began his conversation at the Community Library in Ketchum, Idaho with these words: “Our country is in trouble, our democracy at risk.” I was in that moment grateful for Executive Director Dr. Jenny Emery Davidson’s own preface before introducing Mr. Kerry. She read words written by Walt Whitman on the eve of the Civil War in his preface to ‘Leaves of Grass’: This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men — go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families — re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.” Author and educator Parker Palmer once wrote about these same words, “I love the grounded quality of Whitman’s counsel. In it, I find a powerful antidote to our tendency to get distracted by bling, to lust after shiny things, to bow down to false authority and lose our souls in the process.” Mr. Kerry reminded our community of hope’s possibility and reason for optimism, to put our country over party, and ”have patience and indulgence toward the people.”
Walt Whitman, 1855
Conversation with John Kerry by The Community Library, Ketchum, Idaho
Saturday, December 22, 2018
December 23, 2018
“We are waiting on the Divine Presence and listening to the voice of intuition, we come into a consciousness of peace and a realization that we all belong to one human family.
For surely God desires peace on earth and good will among (wo)men, and Christmas is the day of good will among (wo)men. It is a day when we find a common cause and gladly make our gifts of love to each other in the spirit of him who said, ‘Love one another. … It is your Father’s/Gaia’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.’
“Today, as our thought ascends in prayer, our good will is going out to the whole world. Today our great desire is that peace and good will shall come among all people and all nations, binding all together in golden chains of love.”
-Science of Mind
Love looked down and saw hate. “I will go there,” said Love.
“The ability to respect the outsider is probably the litmus test of true seeing. And it doesn’t stop with human beings and enemies and the least of the sisters and brothers. It moves to frogs and waters and weeds. Everything becomes enchanting once we have full sight. One God, one world, one truth, one suffering, and one love (see Ephesians 4:4-6). All we can do is participate.”
-Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation
You didn’t come into this house
so I might tear off a piece of your life.
Perhaps when you leave,
you’ll take something of mine:
chestnuts, roses, or a surety of roots.
“What makes Neruda such a great poet is the largeness of his heart, and through is large kindness, he suggests that giving heals and that until we step into that space between each other and try, nothing can happen. But once we do, giving and receiving become the same, and we all grow stronger for going there together.”
December 21, 2018
- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
- Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
- Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
- Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
- Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
- Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Respect (Ishvara)
“Of course it did. We wouldn’t be in this jam if it hadn’t.
The nature of our independent choices means that sometimes we’re seduced by a decision that turns out to be a mistake.
Worth considering for next time:
Was it a failure of strategy (wrong choice) or execution (bad follow through)?
Are we thinking long-term enough?
Are shiny objects swaying our judgment?
Is it the arrogance of being sure we’re right, or the impatience of not waiting for more information?
What about the desire to go along with (or against) the crowd?
Or perhaps we’re trying to teach someone a lesson when we’re actually hurting ourselves.
Often, we’ll be in a jam because we failed to act at all. And sometimes it’s because we didn’t leave ourselves enough of an out in case of a pothole, because, as we all know, it rarely works every time.
A passion for forward motion is the single best way to improve the status quo. And the more forward motion we make, the better we’ll get at figuring out if its a good idea next time.”