Saturday, November 08, 2008
Greetings all! Doin' a show with 9:00am-10:00pm hours! Stopping by long enough to express gratitude for the vision of Alice Walker and share her Open Letter:
An Open Letter to Barack Obama
Nov. 5, 2008
Dear Brother Obama,
You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.
I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.
I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.
A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
In Peace and Joy,
Friday, October 24, 2008
This scripture from the Bible has always echoed in my consciousness as a finger pointing toward the kind of love that marks a purifed consciousness.
We begin within, each of us, with this immense practice. If it expands to nations, we may see the "(world) peace that passeth all understanding." But never before. As usual Sri Easwaran captures it perfectly -- "it is only by loving people who oppose us and learning to bear with them that we can heal ourselves and heal them too." --
"In every veil you see, the Divine Beauty is concealed, making every heart a slave to him. In love to him the heart finds its life; in desire for him, the soul finds its happiness. The heart which loves a fair one here, though it knows it not, is really his lover. "
"It is very difficult for most of us to understand to what extent our love can be expanded. Everybody has a few people with whom he can be friendly, with whom she can be tender, but the Lord tells us, 'Thatís not enough. If you want to become whole and never be separate again, you should have love and respect for everyone.'
"Jesus said, 'What is the special achievement in loving those who love you? Even selfish people are prepared to do that. Bless those that curse you.' I can see the twinkle in his eye as the gathering gasps. This is the daring of Jesus.
"Today we talk about revolution, but I think there has never been a greater revolutionary than Jesus the Christ. He tells us that by loving those who hate us, we can win our freedom, because we will no longer be dependent on how others act towards us. The person who practices this can reach the summit of human consciousness, for it is only by loving people who oppose us and learning to bear with them that we can heal ourselves and heal them too."
-- Eknath Easwaran
Monday, October 20, 2008
This is why there are poets:
Why wonder about the loaves and the fishes?
If you say the right words, the wine expands.
If you say them with love
and the felt ferocity of that love
and the felt necessity of that love,
the fish explode into the many.
Imagine him, speaking,
and don't worry about what is reality,
or what is plain, or what is mysterious.
If you were there, it was all those things.
If you can imagine it, it was all those things.
Eat, drink, be happy.
Accept the miracle.
Accept, too, each spoken word
spoken with love.
-- Mary Oliver
(Why I Wake Early)
Sunday, October 19, 2008
How many teachers, in how many ways, how many times...have to tell me this, said so precisely on this particular occasion by one of my key teachers:
"If you are determined to stick to what is really important in life, then from day to day you will see that the unimportant pastimes, the distractions that lead you away from your purpose, will gradually weaken their hold.
"On the list of priorities, first and foremost is meditation. It will clear your eyes and bring the detachment and discrimination we all need to make wise choices. So right at the top of your list should be the resolution to practice meditation, and not to let anything come in the way.
"Not even the greatest of worldly achievements will satisfy us completely. Nothing finite can ever satisfy us. Sooner or later, all the vitality that has gone into pursuing countless goals in the outer world must flow into one huge desire to discover the divine presence within. This supreme discovery is what matters most in life. We are all born to seek the supreme truth."
-- Eknash Easwaran
Thursday, October 16, 2008
As usual, Sri Easwaran says it so well:
Have few desires."
-Ė Lao Tzu
"Detachment from likes and dislikes, habits and opinions, is not a sign of weakness. It is an enormously strong and positive quality. Nor does freedom from likes and dislikes mean that life is insipid for us, but rather that we are not driven compulsively by rigid ways of thinking. Even if we donít get what we want Ė or if we do get what we donít want Ė we can still function cheerfully and efficiently.
"Detachment from habits does not mean that we have no habits. Good habits can be very useful to cultivate in life. But we should be able to change our habits gracefully, or drop them altogether when necessary, especially if we learn that they are harmful to us or are not exactly endearing us to those around us. If we are used to a cup of coffee every morning with our breakfast and one morning we discover that we are out of coffee, we donít say, 'I canít function without my coffee,' and go back to bed. We should be able to say cheerfully, 'Iíll have tea instead Ė or soy milk.'"
-- Eknath Easwaran
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