4th of July
‘There is only one true flight from the world: it is not an escape from conflict anguish, and suffering, but the flight from dignity and separation, to unity and peace in the love of other [people].’
-Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation
What Dorothy Day called ‘a revolution of the heart’ is blossoming in our streets, where revolutionaries seem confident America can spend less on war and police, make the 1% and corporations pay their fare share and ensure healthcare, living wages, etc., for all. -Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
Frederick Douglass’ Descendants Deliver His ‘Fourth Of July’ Speech
How can you watch and not weep? 4th of July belongs to all of us. It must.
‘In this short film, five young descendants of Frederick Douglass read and respond to excerpts of his famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” which asks all of us to consider America’s long history of denying equal rights to Black Americans.’
Douglass Washington Morris II, 20 (he/him) Isidore Dharma Douglass Skinner, 15 (they/their) Zoë Douglass Skinner, 12 (she/her) Alexa Anne Watson, 19 (she/her) Haley Rose Watson, 17 (she/her)
Love will rise above all.
Sun Valley, Idaho.
A “STOP!” – planetary and individual*
‘Everything happens as if a “STOP! had been given on a planetary level. Of course, it was not this summary and unconscious entity of the infinitely small, the coronavirus, which gave this order. This order seems to emanate from the cosmic movement itself disturbed by the mad dream of the human being to dominate and manipulate Nature.
Everything stopped suddenly for half the countries of the world. This immobility did not fail to reveal to us all the flaws of globalization centered on profit and money. But which of the world’s politicians and leaders will be the ones to see? We are plunged into the blindness of the darkness of our habits of thought and the ideologies of progress, totally out of step with reality. How do you open your eyes to what’s going on? In my opinion, the only solution is the spiritual evolution of the whole of humanity. It alone could take into account all the levels of Reality and the Hidden Third.
It also happens as if a “STOP! had been given on an individual basis. We are suddenly in front of ourselves, before the mystery of our being, thus giving the exceptional opportunity of a spiritual evolution for each of us. This spiritual evolution of each human being conditions that of humanity.
We thus discover that the spiritual underdevelopment of the human being and humanity is the real cause of the crisis that we are going through and that we are going to go through.
But what spirituality is it? It is a radically new, transreligious and transcultural spirituality. Transdisciplinarity offers the tools for the establishment of such a spirituality, based on the community of destiny of all beings on earth. Two thousand years ago, the greatest visionary of all time, Jesus, asked “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44).
Without love nothing is possible to act on our destiny.
The world at the time refused such a message and preferred to kill Jesus. Two thousand years later, we are in exactly the same situation, on the brink of self-destruction of the species, a danger increased since by technological development and the immense means of destruction. The anthropocene without spiritual dimension will lead us to the brink of the abyss.
We must make, with great humility, a new pact of partnership with Nature and with all beings on earth – humans, animals, birds, trees, plants. We must stop defiling Nature with our excessive pride and our desire for omnipotence. All war should be declared a crime against humanity and all means of destruction should be destroyed.
All this can be understood as a utopia which goes against the principle of reality.
One possible answer is that of Michel Houellebecq: “I don’t believe in statements like” nothing will ever be the same again “. We will not wake up, after confinement, to a new world; it will be the same, only a little worse ”. If we contemplate the behavior of political leaders and public opinion in this period of crisis, it is to be feared that Michel Houellebecq is right. Politicians are returning to their usual language of mutual hostility and this will cause considerable social tension.
The media bombardment plunges us into an anxiety-provoking climate where, paradoxically, even death takes an abstract dimension: a dead person is just a number in a statistic. Nothing of the suffering of the one who dies, alone, suffocated by the coronavirus, reaches our place. This is glaring evidence of our spiritual underdevelopment.
The hidden hypothesis of Michel Houellebecq’s reasoning is the impossibility that human beings can evolve.
But another solution exists. Man must be born again if he wants to live.
Our task is immense. Let’s try not to be hypnotized by the multitude of doomsayers and apocalyptic thinkers of all kinds who predict the fall of the West and the demise of our world.
The word “Apocalypse” does not mean “end” or “destruction”, but “Revelation”. We are fortunate to have before our eyes, here and now, an extraordinary Revelation which can allow us to access Life and Meaning. I suggest reading, in these difficult times, the extraordinary book of Paule Amblard Saint John – The Apocalypse, illustrated by the tapestry of Angers . Paule Amblard offers us a coherent interpretation of The Apocalypse of John by the necessity of the spiritual evolution of man. The appalling plagues which cross the text of The Apocalypse are, in truth, the torments of the human soul separated from what founds it. The Apocalypse of John is a message of longing and hope.’
 Paule Amblard, Saint Jean – L’Apocalypse, illustrée par la tapisserie d’Angers, Diane de Selliers Éditeur, Paris, 2017.
* Text translated from French by Gerardo del Cerro Santamaria.
Marketers used to have little choice. The only marketing was local. The local neighborhood, the local community.
Mass marketing changed that. Now, the goal was to flip the culture, all at once. Hit records, hit TV shows, products on the end cap at Target and national TV ads to support it all.
With few exceptions, that’s being replaced by a return to clusters.
The cluster might be geographic (they eat different potato chips in Tucscon than they do in Milwaukee) but they’re much more likely to be psychographic instead. What a group of people believe, who they connect with, what they hope for…
The minimal viable audience concept requires that you find your cluster and overwhelm them with delight. Choose the right cluster, show up with the right permission and sufficient magic and generosity and the idea will spread.
We’re all connected, but the future is local.
Footprints might be a fine compass, but they’re not much of a map. That’s on us.
More from Seth:
Mathematicians don’t need to check in with the head of math to find out what the talking points about fractions are this week.
That’s because fractions are fractions. Anyone can choose to do the math, and everyone will find the same truth.
Most of the progress in our culture of the last 200 years has come from using truth as a force for forward motion. Centralized proclamations are not nearly as resilient or effective as the work of countless individuals, aligned in their intention, engaging with the world.
We amplified this organizing principle when we began reporting on progress. If you’re able to encounter not just local truth but the reality as experienced by many others, collated honestly, then progress moves forward exponentially faster.
Show your work.
One of the dangers of our wide-open media culture of the last ten years has been that the signals aren’t getting through the noise.
Loud voices are drowning out useful ones. It’s difficult to determine, sometimes, who is accurately collating and correlating experience and reality and who is simply making stuff up as a way to distract us, to cause confusion and to gain influence.
I’m betting that in the long run, reality wins out. That the practical resilience that comes from experimentation produces more effective forward motion.
In the words attributed to Galileo, “Eppur si muove.”
It pays to curate the incoming, to ignore the noise and to engage with voices that are willing to show their work.
The question arises: is modern man…confused and exhausted by a multitude of words, opinions, doctrines, and slogans…psychologically capable of the clarity and confidence necessary for valid prayer? Is he not so frustrated and deafened by conflicting propagandas that he has lost his capacity for deep and simple trust?
-Life and Holiness
Where men live huddled together without true communication, there seems to be greater sharing and a more genuine communion. But this is not communion, only immersion in the general meaninglessness of countless slogans and cliches related over and over again so that in the end one listens without hearing and responds without thinking. The content din of empty words and machine noises, the endless booming of loudspeakers end by making true communication and true communion almost impossible.
Each individual in the mass in insulated by thick layers of insensibility. He doesn’t hear, he doesn’t think. He does not act, he is pushed. He does not talk, he produces conventional sounds when stimulated by the appropriate noises. he does not think, he secretes cliches.
-New Seeds of Contemplation
Culture and Clichés correspondent Lynn Berger
We’re constantly told to try something new. ‘Innovate, don’t stagnate.’ But doing things two, three or 30 times creates space for reflection – and innovation. And it can even bring unexpected joy.
‘Politicians know that there are votes to be won with an appeal to what is old and familiar. And they know that this message is most effective when it is repeated endlessly:
So here’s the paradox: in order to appreciate repetition for what it is, we actually need a new sort of attention.
It’s probably impossible to achieve the level of attentiveness we bring to first times the tenth or hundredth time we do something. But it’s entirely feasible to look more attentively at repetition, not to see it as a stumbling block but as a goal in itself. Not as a copy but as a variation. I suspect that the routines and rituals that make up daily life, the “grind” we’ve learned to fear, would feel less like a slap in the face to the zeitgeist, and more like something worthwhile all on its own.
Repetition is the norm: we’re constantly repeating things, whether we want to or not. But there’s a difference between inattentively doing things again and doing things again by choice. Conscious, attentive, deliberate. With the full awareness that this matters just as much, and with the willingness to see, hear and feel different things when you feel, hear and see them again.’
A certain level of fatigue sets in. The media landscape has fragmented so much that consumers can filter their information diet to those outlets that reflect their worldview.
We need an entirely new politics: one that shifts us from an economic to a humanitarian bottom line, from a war economy to a peace economy, from a dirty economy to a clean economy, and from who we’ve been to who we’re ready to be. #repairamerica
Change starts with us as individuals. If one individual becomes more compassionate it will influence others and so we will change the world.
Teach only love, for that is what you are. ~Course in Miracles
If one makes herself receptive to the idea of love, she becomes lovable. To the degree that she embodies love, she is love; so people who love are loved. ~Science of Mind
Ghandi recognized, as no other world leader of our time has done, the necessity to be from from the pressures, the exorbitant and tyrannical demands of a society that is violent because it is essential greedy, lustful, and cruel.
He recognized the impossibility of being a peaceful and nonviolent man, if one submits passively to the insatiable requirements of a society maddened by overstimulation and obsessed with demons of noise, voyeurism, and speed.
Gandhi believed that the central problem of our time was the acceptance or the rejection of a basic law of love and truth which had been made knows to the world in traditional religions.
His whole, his political action, finally even his death, were nothing but a witness to this commitment: “If love is not the law of our being, the whole of my argument falls to pieces.”
-Thomas Merton, Seeds of Destruction
The most inward and loving of all,
he came forth like a new beginning,
the brown-robed brother [St. Francis] of your nightingales,
with his wonder and good will
and delight in Earth.
Rilke, The Book of Hours III, 33
This is the miracle of love: to discover that all creation is one, flung out into space.
This is the principle of nonviolence, and I want to recommend it to you with all the enthusiasm I can command. . . .
If human beings go to war, it is because they fear someone.
Remove the fear, and you re-establish trust, and will have peace.
Nonviolence means destroying fear.
-Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation
Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.
—John Steinbeck, The Short Reign of Pippin IV (1957)
Everything is sacred.
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You have been told . . . what is good
And what the Lord requires of you:
Only to do the right and to love goodness,
And to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
“It has always been much easier (because it has always seemed much safer) to give a name to the evil without than to locate the terror within.”
“We ought to try, by the example of our own lives, to prove that life is love and wonder and that that nation is doomed which penalizes those of its citizens who recognize and rejoice in this fact.”
Timeliness from Baldwin, born on this day in 1924.
“I can conceive of no better service,” Walt Whitman wrote, “than boldly exposing the weakness, liabilities and infinite corruptions of democracy.” Nearly a century later, James Baldwin (August 2, 1924–December 1, 1987) — another poet laureate of the human spirit — embodied this ethos in one of his shortest, most searing, and timeliest essays.
“We are living through the most crucial moment of our history, the moment which will result in a new life for us, or a new death… a new vision of America, a vision which will allow us to face, and begin to change, the facts of American life… This seems a grim view to take of our situation, but it is scarcely grimmer than the facts. Our honesty and our courage in facing these facts is all that can save us from disaster. And one of these facts is that there has always been a segment of American life, and a powerful segment, too, which equated virtue with mindlessness… It always reminds me of a vast and totally untrustworthy bomb shelter in which groups of frightened people endlessly convince one another of its impregnability, while the real world outside — by which, again, I mean the facts of our private and public lives — calmly and inexorably prepares their destruction.”
“We must dare to take another view of majority rule… taking it upon ourselves to become the majority by changing the moral climate. For it is upon this majority that the life of any nation really depends.”
“Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them – we can love completely without complete understanding.”
As I prepare for tonight’s debate, I am thinking about why I got into this race. I’m committed to articulating as strongly as I can my beliefs on which this campaign stands.
I believe we won’t be the country that we can be, until we’re the people that we can be. Too many people are held back from being all they can be, due to bad public policy that does more to limit their dreams than to unleash their spirits.
I believe government can and should be a force for good. It should create and secure opportunities for people to embrace the light, thus making it less probable they will fall into darkness.
America has now fallen into a dark night of the American soul. We’re living at a time when some of the worst human impulses have been turned into a political force. And that will be transcended only by the best human impulses turned into a political force.
That is why I take a stand for love.
I take a stand for economic and social justice. I take a stand for America’s children. I take a stand for safety. I take a stand for our planet. I take a stand for racial reconciliation. And I take a stand for peace.
I will continue to do that, tonight in Miami, tomorrow in Homestead, and the day after that in Iowa. I will continue to campaign on the possibility that America can emerge from this time and be better than we have ever been.
The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.
It is the tending of our own souls that invites the natural process of love to begin. I remember my very first tumble into love. I found such comfort there that, like Narcissus, I became lost in how everything other than my pain was reflected in his beauty. All the while, I was addicting my own worth, empowering him as the key to my sense of joy.
If I have learned anything through the years, it is that, though we discover and experience joy with others, our capacity for joy is carried like a pod of nectar into our very own being. I now believe that our deepest vocation is to root ourselves enough in this life that we can open our hearts to attract others. In other words, in being so thoroughly who we are, an inner essence is released that calls others to experience our personal light.
It seems the very job of being is to ready us for such love.
In this way, the Universe continues through the unexpected coming together of blossomed souls.
So if you can, give up the want of another and be who you are, and more than not, love will come at the precise moment you are simply in love with you. [Nepo]
Identify one trait makes you feel good about who are are: your laugh, your simile, your ability to listen, or the sound of your voice.
Notice how this effects others.
These small moments are the beginnings of love. They do not yet have definition.
Take a moment. Give thanks for your small goodness and for the potential love of others.
A hunger drives us.
We want to contain it all in our naked hands,
our bribing sense, our speechless hearts.
We want to become it, or offer it-but to whom?
We could hold it forever-but, after all,
what can we keep?
Not the beholding, so slow to learn.
Not anything that has happened here.
There are hurts. And, always, the hardships.
And there’s the long knowing of love-all of it
amidst the stars,
we will see: these are better unsaid.
-Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Ninth Duino Elegy
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.
Science of Mind/Ernest Holmes:
This was the Christ speaking, the son begotten of the only Father-the Son of God. Humble in his humanity, compassionate in his tenderness, understand the frailties of the human mind, he let the Great Spirit speak through him, in words of love and sympathy. He proclaimed his divinity through his humanity and taught that all men are brothers.
Rev. Dr. David Goldberg:
The Sanskrit word karuna is translated as compassion, which means active sympathy or the willingness to bear the pain of others. Closely related to karuna is metta, loving kindness.
It’s important to remember also that genuine compassion is rooted in prajna or wisdom. Prajna is the realization that the separate self is an illusion. This takes us back to not attaching our egos to what we do, expecting to be thanked or rewarded.
In Essence of the Heart Sutra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes, “According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It’s not passive-it’s not empty alone-but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and loving kindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is loving kindness). [Right Action and Compassion, Barbara O’Brien, April 2018]
But love laughs at the end of the world, because love is the door to eternity; and, before anything can happen, love will have drawn her over the sill and closed the door, and he won’t bother about the world burning because he will know nothing about love.
-Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas 
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…
It’s all around us. Sometimes, found in the most unusual places.
“God came to my house and asked for charity. And I fell on my knees and cried, ‘Beloved, what may I give?’ Just love’. He said. ‘Just love.'”
-Saint Francis of Assisi
Live in community, move from stillness to action, all the while loving our neighbor,encourage each other to BE and to DO good deeds motivated by love.
-Cindy Senarighi and Heidi Green
Look no further than the front page of Sunday’s New York Times, where the entire above-the-fold space was dedicated to articles on Saudi Arabia. It’s not as if there hasn’t been good reporting on issues like the war in Yemen and the Saudi leadership’s underhanded tactics in the past, but the Khashoggi incident has thrust those stories onto front pages and into national news broadcasts.
From the front lines in Yemen, where the Saudi-led war “has ground on for more than three years, killing thousands of civilians and creating what the United Nation calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. “It took the crisis over the apparent murder of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate two weeks ago for the world to take notice.”
“Hollywood, Silicon Valley, presidential libraries and foundations, politically connected private equity groups, P.R. firms, think tanks, universities and Trump family enterprises are awash in Arab money. The Saudis satisfy American greed, deftly playing their role as dollar signs in robes”
— Maureen Dowd/NYTimes
Washington Post continues with an in-depth look at the “sophisticated Saudi influence machine that has shaped policy and perceptions in Washington for decades, batting back critiques of the oil-rich kingdom by doling out millions to lobbyists, blue-chip law firms, prominent think tanks and large defense contractors.”
The U.N. aid chief warned Tuesday, Oct. 23rd, that humanitarians are losing the fight against famine in Yemen and that 14 million people could soon be at risk of starvation.
“There is now a clear and present danger of an imminent and great big famine engulfing Yemen,” Mark Lowcock told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council. “Much bigger than anything any professional in this field has seen in their working lives.”
“With so many lives at stake,” he said, the warring parties need “to seize the moment” and engage with the U.N. envoy for Yemen “to end the conflict.”
Senator Bernie Sanders: “I very much hope we will finally end our support for the carnage in Yemen, and send the message that human lives are worth more than profits for arms manufacturers.”
‘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.’
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
“True expression rises through us. In this expression, all the conversations and honest sharing that passed through our small tribe(s) over those years permeated (our) consciousness, the way the ocean saturates a sponge. A sponge doesn’t create the water it holds. […] We soak up the deepest meaning from each other and the water of wisdom passes through us.”
“Everything exists as a vibration in time and space. Only the frequencies separates sand from water, soul from dust and me from you. In the boundless order beyond the Universe we are ONE. Only briefly ‘separate’ from each other under the stars, moon and the sun.”
-Super Soul Sunday
Righteousness is not just the private practice of doing good; it sums up the global responsibility of the human community to make sure every human being has what they need, that everyone pursues a fair sense of justice for every other human being, and that everyone lives in right relationship with one another, creation, and God.
- …this discovery is life’s real and highest goal. Our supreme purpose in life is not to make a fortune, nor to pursue pleasure, nor to write our name on history, but to discover this spark of the divine that is in our hearts.
- Last, when we realize this goal, we discover simultaneously that the divinity within ourselves is one and the same in all—all individuals, all creatures, all of life.
God’s passion is justice. . . . As the social form of compassion, justice is about politics [the word “politics” comes from the Greek polis for “city”]. . . . Politics is about the shape and shaping, the structure and structuring, of the city and, by extension, of human communities more generally, ranging from the family to society as a whole. . . . Justice is the political form of compassion, the social form of love, a compassionate justice grounded in God as compassionate.
The Slow Arm of All That Matters
I have fallen through and worked into
a deeper way – one step at a time, one pain
at a time, one grief at a time, one amends at a
time-until the long, slow arm of all that matters
has bowed my estimation of heaven. Now, like a
heron wairting for the waters to clear, I look for
heaven on earth and wait of for the turbulence to settle.
And I confess, for all the ways we stir things
up, I can see that though we can stop, life never
stops: the lonely bird crashes into the window
just as the sun disperses my favorite doubt, a
sudden wind closes your willing heart as the
moment of truth passes between us, and the
damn phone rings as my father is dying. All
these intrusions, majestically unfair, and not of our
timing. So we spin and drop and catch and land.
And sometimes, we fall onto these little islands of stillness,
like now, from which we are renewed by our kinship
with all and that irrepressible feeling resurrects our want to be here,
to push off again into the untamable stream.
Under all the conflicts and dilemmas we face, we can discover over and over that everything, and everyone, in life is connected.