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Redemption or the Cult of Victimhood?

Monday, September 07, 2009

I'm juxtaposing two pieces that show the great potential of the human spirit for GOOD or EVIL...and how far we still have to go. I begin with Eknath Easwaran, a favorite teacher, as any of you who read my offerings can testify. I then segue into an excerpt of a difficult-to-hear piece by American cultural critic Henry A. Gireaux, a portion focusing primarily on movies and television.

We really need to wake up before it's too late, beginning by doing the difficult and ongoing inner work of removing the hostility within ourselves and purifying our own hearts so that we can be forces for peace.


Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
-- Martin Luther King

All of us can play an important part in the conquest of violence. We can do this by throwing our full weight behind peaceful, effective programs for eliminating the situations from which violence arises. But just as importantly, we need to do everything we can to remove every trace of hostility in ourselves.

The violence that is flaring up on our streets and in many corners of the world is the inevitable expression of the hostility in our hearts. Hostility is like an infectious disease. Whenever we indulge in a violent act or even in hostile words, we are passing this disease on to those around us. When we quarrel at home, it is not just a domestic problem; we are contributing to turmoil everywhere.

A teacher of meditation in ancient India, Patanjali, wrote that in the presence of a man or woman in whom all hostility has died, others cannot be hostile. In the presence of a man or woman in whom all fear has died, no one can be afraid. This is the power released in true nonviolence, as we can see in the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Because all hostility had died in his heart, he was a profound force for peace.
-- Eknath Easwaran


And now the excerpt from the Henry Gireaux piece,
Living In A Culture of Cruelty: Democracy As Spectacle

Americans have grown accustomed to luxuriating in a warm bath of cinematic blood, as young people and adults alike were seduced with commercial and military video games such as "Grand Theft Auto" and "America's Army," the television series "24" and its ongoing Bacchanalian fete of torture, the crude violence on display in World Wrestling Entertainment and Ultimate Fighting Championship, and an endless series of vigilante films such as "The Brave One" (2007) and "Death Sentence" (2007), in which the rule of law is suspended by the viscerally satisfying images of men and women seeking revenge as laudable killing machines - a nod to the permanent state of emergency and war in the United States. Symptomatically, there is the mindless glorification and aestheticization of brutal violence in the most celebrated Hollywood films, including many of Quentin Tarantino's films, especially the recent "Death Proof" (2007), "Kill Bill" 1 & 2 (2003, 2004), and "Inglorious Bastards" (2009). With the release of Tarantino's 2009 bloody war film, in fact, the press reported that Dianne Kruger, the co-star of "Inglorious Bastards," claimed that she "loved being tortured by Brad Pitt [though] she was frustrated she didn't get an opportunity to get frisky with her co-star, but admits being beaten by Pitt was a satisfying experience." This is more than the aestheticization of violence, it is the normalization and glorification of torture itself.

If Hollywood has made gratuitous violence the main staple of its endless parade of blockbuster films, television has tapped into the culture of cruelty in a way that was unimaginable before the attack on the US on September 11. Prime-time television before the attacks had "fewer than four acts of torture" per year, but "now there are more than a hundred." [10] Moreover, the people who torture are no longer the villains, but the heroes of prime-time television. The most celebrated is, of course, Jack Bauer, the tragic-ethical hero of the wildly popular Fox TV thriller "24." Not only is torture the main thread of the plot, often presented "with gusto and no moral compunction," but Bauer is portrayed as a patriot, rather than a depraved monster, who tortures in order to protect American lives and national security. Torture, in this scenario, takes society's ultimate betrayal of human dignity and legitimates the pain and fear it produces as normal, all the while making a "moral sadist" a television celebrity. The show has over 15 million viewers, and its glamorization of torture has proven so successful that it appears to have not only numbed the public's reaction to the horrors of torture, but it is so overwhelmingly influential among the US military that the Pentagon sent Brig. Gen. Patrick Finnegan to California to meet with the producers of the show. "He told them that promoting illegal behavior in the series ... was having a damaging effect on young troops." The pornographic glorification of gratuitous, sadistic violence is also on full display in the popular HBO television series "Dexter," which portrays a serial killer as a sympathetic, even lovable, character. Visual spectacles steeped in degradation and violence permeate the culture and can be found in various reality TV shows, professional wrestling and the infamous Jerry Springer Show. These programs all trade in fantasy, glamorized violence and escapism. And they share similar values.

As Chris Hedges points out in his analysis of professional wrestling, they all mirror the worst dimensions of an unchecked and unregulated market society in which "winning is all that matters. Morality is irrelevant.... It is all about personal pain, vendettas, hedonism and fantasies of revenge, while inflicting pain on others. It is the cult of victimhood."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEUSMACHINA 9/7/2009 7:17PM

    I love seeing the dissection of American culture from the inside, it's so interesting!

Our culture is similar, yet quite different. Although we get all your American shows, we don't have the culture of fear and violence. (Most Australians couldn't be bothered hating someone! And who said laziness was bad?) It indicates to me that television is more like the mirror, and less like the creator of the fear and violence. Although the crime rates in your country and ours are not extremely different (with some notable exceptions), we don't generally feel under threat. We don't feel in danger, or feel the need to 'defend ourselves'. We don't have guns, and don't feel that we need them. This lack of fear is exactly like in the first piece! Fear begets fear begets violence!

But when we joined in the "war on terror" we saw escalating fear- and hate-mongering against Muslim Australians. This was primarily from our then-government who were extremely conservative by Australian standards (although not by American ones). This culminated in our first race-riot. I was appalled. Talk about un-Australian! Thank goodness we're seeing sense return. Simply by not vilifying Muslim Australians and fanning the flames of hatred, we have seen a decrease in racial tension. Australia is slipping back into it's lackadaisical uninterestedness. YAY!

It seems to me to be a perfect case study of the issues you raise in this blog, and shows how relevant it is to our day-to-day life!

Thanks Maha!


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LUCKY-13 9/7/2009 5:05PM

    Thanks for writing this blog. Sometimes it seems like it's too late to do anything to make our country, or even the world, a better place. But by focusing on my words and deeds, I can control my contributions, and work to make them better. I will strive harder for the good that can be done.

Thank you Maha

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CARLI_MAE 9/7/2009 3:55PM

    Aha, Maha, (sorry, couldn't resist that one) you did it! After reading your last blog, as you know, I read the Gireaux article. Whenever I am reminded of all the great thinkers through history who have preached that the opposite of love is fear & fear of course leads to hate; a quotation from a book by Phillip Berrigan, S.J. (yep, draft card burning Dan's younger brother) comes to mind. He said ... "the opposite of Love is not hate, but indifference." Phillip's book was about the racial conflicts in this country, but when I think about the examples Gireaux cites, I cannot help but think that we are indeed on the very edge of approaching the same indifference that is required of mass murderers, people who engage in illegal dog fights, etc.
The concept Patanjali long ago spoke of indeed does hold true for most of us still, except (from my experiences anyway) when confronted by that kind of indifference. Consider, for a moment, those who become angry over injustices like racism and closed-minded attitudes ... as long as they are angry, it indicates that they still at least care. But when the anger and hostility boil over and spend themselves leaving only indifference, I think perhaps that is when we lose our humanity and civility completely and become capable of carrying out all the forms of attrocities the earth has seen from its earliest known times.
Om, shanti,

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SLASALLE 9/7/2009 3:06PM

    Maha, it's you again - touching on some of the most important issues in our times!!!

Interestingly, I note Kathleen's reference to 100th Monkey (which is the name of Mel's new site/business/label), yet at the same time, it is a silver sponsor of PETA. What a vast conflict ... truly indicative of the world we live in ... trying to find balance ... good v. evil ... all of us trying to find our best way to live, give and survive!

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WHATAGRL42 9/7/2009 12:32PM

    Well I'm relieved to say I have never seen any of the films or media events spoken of by Henry Gireaux! As for hostility, it is an ugly, radiating burn. When I start to feel it in the presence of someone dark to whom I am tempted to react, I reframe... immediately replace the impending feeling with one of pity. This has served me well, to quickly remind myself that:"this person is hurting. This person is suffering. This person is a product of hostile acts and words that have been issued to them. This person needs empathy, love, and a dose of humor".

And yet it still takes work, to replace the hostility with love. I wonder if it will ever become reflex.... or if It will always be a conscious effort. All we can do is keep trying... keep working toward.

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DOKEYOKEY 9/7/2009 11:11AM

    Maha -- Thank you. Because I don't have a television and pay scant attention to mainstream media, I was unaware of how bad it had gotten. Understanding the full extent of our violence infatuation is profoundly discouraging.

I think Easwaran, Gandhi, King, Thich Nhat Hahn, the Dalai Lama and others are right when they say that we must become peaceful in our own hearts. That is the way to peace.

And yet -- there is such a gap between these two things.

I work in conflict resolution and I see the attitudes and approaches that lead to conflict -- and for that reason I am drawn to communications and conflict resolution training. That way, people can learn how to fish themselves out of conflict water before it gets too far out of hand.

But I think you are pointing out something that many conflict resolution folks don't think about that much -- or, we notice it in a superficial way -- and that is the fact that many of us sometimes have fear, anger, and hostility in us. That's why we act the way we do -- we think it's the ONLY way to get what we need.

Communications and conflict resolution training can *help,* I think. It gives people some new approaches and new things to say that can be helpful in getting what they need -- but it doesn't necessarily provoke in them the desire to do those things once the fight/flight brain chemicals have kicked in.

And it looks like the media is doing everything it can to keep those fight/flight reactions in full expression 24/7.

I am hopeful that there are enough people who want this culture to change that the "100th Monkey" phenomenon kicks in. (

Thanks again for bringing this to us!


Comment edited on: 9/7/2009 11:13:36 AM

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LOLAGEEK 9/7/2009 10:14AM

    The issues of inner conflict from our ideal self to our realized self are always baffling to me since it is after all just a self, a singular identity. Somewhere channels/pipes get clogged with untruths and I am glad you mentioned this.
Away from cinema and violence I saw this most recently with the recommendation of the Catholic church to pray before sex to set an intention of the sexual act for your partner, yourself, and your faith. I saw this prayer on a contemporary website and so many people were upset/offended by it. Most comments seemed to be expressions of peoples' inner conflict with their spirituality and their sexual acts, which I honestly don't see a reason to separate.
I don't see a reason to separate spiritual self from most acts, no matter what ones faith is.

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KUZINKEITH 9/7/2009 10:01AM

    I guess we really do change the world one person at a time ... and that person we change is our self.
I hadn't thought about how my angry verbal outbursts perpetuate violence in the world. I know it is bad for my spirit.
Thank you once again for getting my thinker going, Maha.

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JNEUBS 9/7/2009 9:41AM

    Wow! As always Maha, I so appreciate your postings!

Peace from within to you!

May you enjoy happiness and the root of happiness!

ChiTown Jeff
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Come on, Mr. President. Show us America is more than a circus!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

by Bill Moyers
Friday 04 September 2009
The editors of THE ECONOMIST magazine say America's health care debate has become a touch delirious, with people accusing each other of being evil-mongers, dealers in death, and un-American.

Well, that's charitable.

I would say it's more deranged than delirious, and definitely not un-American.

Those crackpots on the right praying for Obama to die and be sent to hell -- they're the warp and woof of home-grown nuttiness. So is the creature from the Second Amendment who showed up at the President's rally armed to the teeth. He's certainly one of us. Red, white, and blue kooks are as American as apple pie and conspiracy theories.

Bill Maher asked me on his show last week if America is still a great nation. I should have said it's the greatest show on earth. Forget what you learned in civics about the Founding Fathers -- we're the children of Barnum and Bailey, our founding con men. Their freak show was the forerunner of today's talk radio.

Speaking of which: we've posted on our website an essay by the media scholar Henry Giroux (see link at end). He describes the growing domination of hate radio as one of the crucial elements in a "culture of cruelty" increasingly marked by overt racism, hostility and disdain for others, coupled with a simmering threat of mob violence toward any political figure who believes health care reform is the most vital of safety nets, especially now that the central issue of life and politics is no longer about working to get ahead, but struggling simply to survive.

So here we are, wallowing in our dysfunction. Governed -- if you listen to the rabble rousers -- by a black nationalist from Kenya smuggled into the United States to kill Sarah Palin's baby. And yes, I could almost buy their belief that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, only I think he shipped them to Washington, where they've been recycled as lobbyists and trained in the alchemy of money laundering, which turns an old-fashioned bribe into a First Amendment right.

Only in a fantasy capital like Washington could Sunday morning talk shows become the high church of conventional wisdom, with partisan shills treated as holy men whose gospel of prosperity always seems to boil down to lower taxes for the rich.

Poor Obama. He came to town preaching the religion of nice. But every time he bows politely, the harder the Republicans kick him.

No one's ever conquered Washington politics by constantly saying "pretty please" to the guys trying to cut your throat.

Let's get on with it, Mr. President. We're up the proverbial creek with spaghetti as our paddle. This health care thing could have been the crossing of the Delaware, the turning point in the next American Revolution -- the moment we put the mercenaries to rout, as General Washington did the Hessians at Trenton. We could have stamped our victory "Made in the USA." We could have said to the world, "Look what we did!" And we could have turned to each other and said, "Thank you."

As it is, we're about to get health care reform that measures human beings only in corporate terms of a cost-benefit analysis. I mean this is topsy-turvy -- we should be treating health as a condition, not a commodity.

As we speak, Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, has been fined a record $2.3 billion dollars as a civil and criminal -- yes, that's criminal, as in fraud -- penalty for promoting prescription drugs with the subtlety of the Russian mafia. It's the fourth time in a decade Pfizer's been called on the carpet. And these are the people into whose tender mercies Congress and the White House would deliver us?

Come on, Mr. President. Show us America is more than a circus or a market. Remind us of our greatness as a democracy. When you speak to Congress next week, just come out and say it. We thought we heard you say during the campaign last year that you want a government run insurance plan alongside private insurance -- mostly premium-based, with subsidies for low-and-moderate income people. Open to all individuals and employees who want to join and with everyone free to choose the doctors we want. We thought you said Uncle Sam would sign on as our tough, cost-minded negotiator standing up to the cartel of drug and insurance companies and Wall Street investors whose only interest is a company's share price and profits.

Here's a suggestion, Mr. President: ask Josh Marshall to draft your speech. Josh is the founder of the website . He's a journalist and historian, not a politician. He doesn't split things down the middle and call it a victory for the masses. He's offered the simplest and most accurate description yet of a public insurance plan -- one that essentially asks people: would you like the option -- the voluntary option -- of buying into Medicare before you're 65? Check it out, Mr. President.

This health care thing is make or break for your leadership, but for us, it's life and death. No more Mr. Nice Guy, Mr. President. We need a fighter.

That's it for the Journal. I'm Bill Moyers. See you next time. (Text and YouTube of Moyers)
emoticon (Text of "Living in a Culture of Cruelty: Democracy as Spectacle," Heny A. Giroux)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WHATAGRL42 9/8/2009 4:20PM

    LOVE LOVE LOVE it~!!

And I have parents calling me off the hook (I'm a Kindergarten teacher) frightened to death that I might allow the students to watch the President's address to the children, in class. It's really not a "Kindergarten thing", so I'm not showing it... but the fear this has generated is beyond belief! Good Grief!

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CARLI_MAE 9/7/2009 12:20AM

    emoticon You know where I'm "at" too ... culture of cruelty indeed we are ... actually, when you think about the atrocities perpetrated upon the Native American Indians, the era of the "Wild West," our horrible history with regard to civil rights, etc., perhaps (minus a few brief moments) nothing much has changed at all.
Thanks for the Giroux link, Maja.
Another dopeless hope fiend, as Steph would say,

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DEUSMACHINA 9/6/2009 11:37PM

    Wow! Some things have come across my notice recently that have brought the healthcare system (or lack of) in the USA to my attention.

I'm Australian, and like the rest of the OECD except the USA, we have state-funded healthcare. If I get sick or need surgery, all in-hospital and many outpatient services are covered. If I see a GP, about half the cost is covered. If I need medication most of the cost is covered. If I'm depressed and need to see a psychologist, the cost is covered. We don't have dental care covered, except for those on welfare, but we are looking into changing that. We have a private insurace system that works alongside our public system, as well. Our system isn't perfect. Public patients often have to wait for surgery if it is deemed "elective", and that can include things like knee- and hip-replacements that are for non-life-threatening (but very painful) conditions. However, in my own experience (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia - pre-cancer) if you have a condition that needs treatment, the wait is very short, or non-existent if urgent. I have had the best care in the world, and I am happy to pay what would seem to Americans to be high taxes to fund it.

I am appalled that the richest country in the world seems to be happy to let its people suffer bankruptcy just for getting sick! Or worse, just do without treatment. Sorry for grandstanding here, but it shocks me to the core to see such wanton disregard for human life!

Thanks so much for posting this. I'm glad that there are people over there who want change, and I hope that those who don't will realise that it isn't communism to look after people who are down on their luck!


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KUZINKEITH 9/6/2009 10:26PM

    Bill Moyers is right on ... as usual. I saw him one on one with Bill Maher a while back and he was brilliant.
I think you know where I stand by now ... it is time to get tough - no more "Mr. Nice Guy". Bill is right, they have been chewing Obama up and spitting him out.
THANKS for sharing this, Maha.

We'll see if Obama cops out on Wednesday. I didn't get a very good feeling listening to Axelrod on "Meet the Press" this morning.

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ANDRAXIA 9/6/2009 5:52PM

    whew...ok, I generally don't listen to television talk shows with that much hype in them. Reading it however, you do make a few good points. Uh...being on medicare before 65? Every disabled American should have had the opportunity to sign up for medicare when their disability was diagnosed.
Has Obama's plan been put into effect yet? I don't think so, in fact I seem to remember reading an interview in which he said he wasn't aware of all the hurdles or obstacles he would have to overcome, and that it would take a while. Every president alive in my lifetime has made promises then claimed that the solution was more complex than he had expected.
It was a presidential order that set up Social Security which is tied into medicare, etc. Regardless of the situation Social Security is in now it has done more good for the American people than bad. And so will a national healthcare system, whenever it comes about. He's not the first to try it just the first to let his election ride on the promise of it.

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If you have little even that will be taken....

Saturday, September 05, 2009

To me the gospels are the rarest of treasures and the part of the Bible that I deeply resonate with. Sri Easwaran has provided many commentaries on Jesus' words and Christian masters in various texts -- three of his books come to mind: Original Goodness: The Beatitudes; Seeing with the Eyes of Love: The Imitation of Christ; Love Never Faileth: St. Francis, St. Paul, St. Augustine & Mother Teresa.

I found his commentary on this verse especially helpful, as well as useful to me in my spiritual journey, and thought others might appreciate it as well:

Unto those that hath shall be given, and they shall have abundance: but from those that hath not shall be taken away even that which they have.
-- Matthew 25:29

This is a strange paradox, a little-known secret. Jesus isn’t speaking of worldly goods. He is speaking of a very rare kind of treasure: the more you draw on it, the more you will have. The more patient you are with people, for instance, the more patience you will have. The more generous you are today, the more generosity you will have tomorrow. The more love you give, the more loving you become.

The principle can be stated in the plainest of terms: if you are selfish with your love, the scant security you cling to will be battered by life. But if you give of yourself freely, your security will be unshakable. Your joy will be limitless. You will always have more to give.
-- Eknath Easwaran

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEACEFULONE 9/9/2009 11:42AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DOKEYOKEY 9/6/2009 9:24AM

    Thank you, Maha! I admire your energy, commitment, and generosity in sharing.


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4DANCINGCATS 9/5/2009 2:57PM

    Yes how true. Inspires me and reminds me to continue to work on giving of myself and my love to all in my work, family and life.

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KUZINKEITH 9/5/2009 2:28PM

    Universal truths resonate so fully, don't they. Thanks for sharing that Maha. I had to work my way past my prejudice against christianity to see that there were some great words wrapped deep inside that religion.

I think John Lennon also summed up that truth in the line: "the love you take is equal to the love you make".

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SLASALLE 9/5/2009 1:13PM

    "The more you draw on it, the more you will have" LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it ... LIVE, LIVE, LIVE it ... Most importantly, believe in it, because it is accurate! I have experienced this firsthand in more ways than one and it's an amazing phenomena.

Thanks, Maha, for sharing all of this ... where the mind goes, energy flows, or whatever that saying is ... what it means to me though is that where I spend my time and energy is what my life is about!!!!

Comment edited on: 9/5/2009 2:14:45 PM

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MAZZYR 9/5/2009 10:11AM

    This is so true.

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MISS_VIV 9/5/2009 9:59AM

    So well explained. Again a remarkable blog by our beloved maha.


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Wislawa Szymborska

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wislawa Szymborska is 80 years old, a Polish poet, essayist and translator. She was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. In Poland, her books reach sales rivaling prominent prose authors, although she once remarked in a poem entitled "Some Like Poetry" that no more than two out of a thousand people care for the art.

I have shared her poetry before. I love how she so beautifully and sensitively captures questions and reflections of the human spirit.

Her metaphors and symbolism attract me and help me to lift this journey to health and wholeness to a new level. She is a woman to model and emulate and I honor her.

Enjoy this utterly amazing piece with me:


I am who I am.
A coincidence no less unthinkable
than any other.

I could have different
ancestors, after all.
I could have fluttered
from another nest
or crawled bescaled
from another tree.

Nature's wardrobe
holds a fair
supply of costumes:
Spider, seagull, field mouse.
each fits perfectly right off
and is dutifully worn
into shreds.

I didn't get a choice either,
but I can't complain.
I could have been someone
much less separate.
someone from an anthill, shoal, or buzzing swarm,
an inch of landscape ruffled by the wind.

Someone much less fortunate,
bred for my fur
or Christmas dinner,
something swimming under a square of glass.

A tree rooted to the ground
as the fire draws near.

A grass blade trampled by a stampede
of incomprehensible events.

A shady type whose darkness
dazzled some.

What if I'd prompted only fear,
or pity?

If I'd been born
in the wrong tribe
with all roads closed before me?

Fate has been kind
to me thus far.

I might never have been given
the memory of happy moments

My yen for comparison
might have been taken away.

I might have been myself minus amazement,
that is,
someone completely different.

-- Wislawa Szymborska
(Poems New and Collected 1957-1997, trans. by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4DANCINGCATS 9/5/2009 2:59PM

    I am reading backwards through your blogs. Again what a great poem/message to all of us/me!

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WHATAGRL42 9/3/2009 12:09AM

    beautifully put... it's the gratitude we all feel, but often cannot express.
Thank you for sharing these picturesque words!

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CARLI_MAE 9/2/2009 3:58PM

    Ah, Maha, you are a wealth of wonderful gems. As I read each verse I thought so many things. I felt as though my mind's eye had been transformed into an assortment of zoom, magnification, and fisheye lenses. From a distance, such as a low flying plane or a mile up into a mountain we do look like ants. And who knows the multitude of secrets science is far from discovering? We think we might be as a twig or a plant if not for our cognition, awareness, and self-awareness (or awareness that we are aware) ... but something inside me always thinks there must be more, and beckons me to delve deeper within. mmmmmmmmmm....

(omg ... I managed to write a completely serious thing without making even one of my usual wise cracks!) Me thinks you is a wizard. Yes, a conspiracy! I think it do be so ... to pull all of Sparkiedom out from itself and into the ... or is it into themselves in order to get out of themselves????

Twisty, I mean Carli

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LYNNANN43 9/2/2009 10:21AM

    emoticon once again for sharing!


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SLASALLE 9/2/2009 9:22AM

    Maha, my friend -

We can always count on you to enrich our lives with the best of the best!! I've never heard of this woman before. Thanks for sharing (again)! I will have to try and remember to check her out further.

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KUZINKEITH 9/2/2009 9:16AM

    I feel real grateful now. This poem moved me on several levels. Her writing is filled with wonderful imagery and emotion.

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JNEUBS 9/2/2009 8:58AM


May you enjoy happiness and the root of happiness!


Town Jeff
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Underneath All Victories and Defeats

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Ahhhh...I REALLY needed this this early morning....

In the midst of some activity, even the activity of reading this now, it is completely possible to allow your mind to open fully, and in that opening to discover the peace and fulfillment of your own spacious awareness.

No place to go, no thing to get, no goal to be realized; no body to change no perfection to be attained. Simply, in this very moment, you can recognize what is always here. Here underneath all the lists and underneath all the victories and defeats.

In meeting yourself, free of all should's and must's and will's, for even a moment, you realize that even if nothing gets fixed or done, simple natural fulfillment is already here.

Of course there is much in our world, our bodies, and our minds that could use fixing. And part of the human evolutionary thrust is to use our mental capacities to discover what is wrong -- outside and inside -- and then to begin the work of correction by removal or augmentation. What a truly awesome power of mind. It is a hallmark of the capacity of the human brain.

The problem arises when this evolving, mistake-searching aspect of mind rules the life form called by your name. And this problem is huge in our culture.

How much of your attention is focused on what is wrong with yourself or others?

When we see how much is wrong or harmful in our thinking and our and others' actions, we can be overwhelmed by the tasks revealed. This overwhelm can result in giving up and reverting to cynicism or in strengthening our resolve to work even harder. To think and do more.

I am actually suggesting that before the overwhelm, or even in the midst of overwhelm, it is possible to stop, if only for a moment, and return to silence. In that moment, there is the recognition that to be internally free and at peace, nothing needs to be done.

Even a moment of true silence allows for true choice, for authentic, appropriate action or non-action to follow.

Some spiritual traditions refer to this silence as no mind. But for me that term is too close to mindless as in ignorant or stupid. I prefer the term open mind. The open mind is spacious and aware. It finds nourishment in itself, intelligent and aware without the need to follow thought.

In truth, all creative and fresh thinking comes out of this nourishment of aware silence. And it is available for you right now.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4DANCINGCATS 9/5/2009 3:26PM

    I love your readings, poems, and reminders to remain open and present.

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STILLPOINT 9/2/2009 9:25AM


Thank you for this wonderful teaching. I love how it discusses stopping, even in mid-overwhelm. Any moment of true silence is beneficial me thinks.

It reminds me of a quote, Beware the bareness of a busy life ~ Socrates.

Blessings - and thanks to all the others who wrote their comments, very inspiring.


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JNEUBS 9/2/2009 9:00AM

    Thanks Maha!


ChiTown Jeff
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CARLI_MAE 9/1/2009 3:42PM

    Right on ... as always. The noise of this world distracts our attention, and we forget that what we see with the eyes is often blurred by a veil, but then when the veil is brushed away, we see in ourselves and in others the true essence. I know what you mean about referring it as a state of mind - lessness, but mind-fulness isn't right either ... the other night I had a flash (not of the hot kind this time ... LOL) as I was winding up a bunch of SP committments made so as not to leave my remaining co-leaders in the lurch. When I was done, I looked at my feed and noticed it was old stuff, so I went to change it ... Carli is .... what? what? what? I couldn't think ... and it occured to me that I already had the perfect update status right in front of me, so all I added was an exclamation point!

We IS ... (but we tend to forget who the real we IS) ... now if anybody understands anything I just wrote, I'm sure it will be you! :=)

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SLASALLE 9/1/2009 1:16PM

    This is an awesome blog - and definitely made me "stop" for a moment. Methinks I will come back and read again at the end of my work day, when I can truly take the time to take it all in.

I often find that "thoughtful" passages need to be read and re-read, and maybe even re-read again.

Hope your homework is going well, my friend. Thanks for all that you share.

With love, Stephanie

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MISS_VIV 9/1/2009 11:27AM

    Thank you for your blog. I LOVE GANGAJI. I am still on a break, but when I saw you had a blog (this morning while I pondered all the 'old' emails) I had to dive in and check it out.

Yes, there underneath all that we pile on top of us, we are still there, with nothing added.

Thank you
I have not seen her in person, but have seen her on tv many times over the years. Always refreshing, always powerfull, sometimes a little difficult to understand. It takes time and thought.

Comment edited on: 9/1/2009 3:33:25 PM

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CAROLYN4033 9/1/2009 10:17AM

    I can't absorb all this in one sitting. I will have to keep reading this blog to totally understand it..I guess that is because I know I don't spend enough time in silence and with self..Thank you for opening my mind today...

Love always, Carolyn

P.S. Also on another note, I DO understand what you keep trying to teach me about "why", it is irrevelant and I know that dwelling on "why" makes no sense cause it won't change anything..I guess I just want to always be aware and learn from what unfolds in front of me, for I know there is always a lesson to be learned. Peace to you my friend.

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KUZINKEITH 9/1/2009 9:25AM

    "How much of your attention is focused on what is wrong with yourself or others?" WAY TOO MUCH.
Thanks to your blog I realized that I have not meditated for almost a week. No wonder I'm getting restless.
It is time to "open my mind" to allow in something other than that "critic" that dominates my waking hours.

emoticon, MAHA

Comment edited on: 9/1/2009 9:26:13 AM

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KARBIE18 9/1/2009 7:57AM

    Thanks for sharing this Maha! What a great way to start my morning!

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