Archive for December, 2007
> Benazir Bhutto was buried today in Garhi Khuda Baksh, near her ancestral home in Pakistan. As I look at the photos of the simple wooden casket being carried and followed by throngs of mourners, I am reminded of the shared tradition of simple wooden caskets among so many of the devout world religions. Which reminds me of the ornate bronze and metal caskets and elaborate funerals one so often attends here in the West. Which causes me to think about what it is that we really amass in a lifetime and just what, exactly, is it that we can take with us when we die.
I have, in this lifetime thus far, had both times of great affluence and times of financial hardship. I consider this a special blessing, as I have had the benefit of learning what life is like with money and “things” as well as what it is like without.
As a child and young adult, my family was financially affluent and I truly wanted for nothing material that I desired. Yet, I was an unhappy child and young adult…lacking in self-confidence, self-love and feeling alienated from most people. This was one of the blessings I mentioned, for I learned at a very early age what most people take a lifetime to know. Money cannot buy the things that matter. However, despite my feelings and my profound realization, it was not until I lived financial hardship that I turned inward to discover what true wealth is.
True wealth is trusting your inner guidance. It’s an awareness of the connectedness of all living beings. It’s finding purpose that transcends the immediacy of your own needs and applying whatever gifts Creator has given you in pursuit of that purpose. It’s an appreciation for the finite period of time we are given a body in which to do the work that can only be done by us in this lifetime. It’s having the courage, through both words and deeds, to support what it is you believe to be true based upon your own unique experience of life.
All of the material bounty acquired in the material world will be left here when the Spirit that is You completes this part of the journey, moving on in Spirit only. However, all of non-material wealth amassed through self-awareness and manifestation of purpose continue on, both here through the inspired works of those who remain, as well as in other realms where treasure is measured not by “how much?” but by “how True?”
I think beyond the simple wooden casket Benazir Bhutto was, and remains, a wealthy woman.
> Some things cannot be silenced. Truth and the human quest for Freedom are two that come to mind. The assassination today of Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, will not change this fact of life, it will only re-direct the energies around those principles down an alternative path. I don’t want to idolize Bhutto for she was a politician and made her share of mistakes and questionable alliances. But she was also one of those “magnetic” beings who drew to her, particularly in recent days, those of her country who not only search for Truth and Freedom, but those who are willing to stand up and be counted in that search regardless of the price.
Bhutto knew her time here was limited and the end of that time close at hand. Recent statements by her evidenced this fact. She knew the way Martin Luther King knew. One does not consciously march into Hell for a Heavenly cause without an awareness of the consequences. But throughout time immemorial the presence, or even likelihood, of such danger has never succeeded in deterring those whose life’s work is to speak not only their own Truth but also one that holds the possibility of liberating many. For true Freedom, and the liberation that is part of Freedom, can only be attained by recognizing, speaking and living Truth as we experience it for ourselves.
Many would say that this is a dangerous philosophy to espouse for what may be Truth to me, and therefore how I choose to live, may simultaneously cause another harm. What better example of this do we have than the forces that assassinated Mrs. Bhutto? Islamist extremists say they know and represent the Truth as founded in the Koran. It is that Truth that necessitated the silencing of Benazir Bhutto and many others before her. The response is so simple as to almost be overlooked.
We all have a core Truth from which everything else flows. That core is Love. Love never harms, inflicts suffering or pain on anyone or anything. So, when one’s thoughts, speech and actions are the impetus for harm, they are never coming from that origin of Love. When harm is the result, it is a self-serving truth, designed and manipulated to achieve a pre-determined end…and in such moments, neither Truth nor Freedom are honorably served.
There is another glaring difference between Truth and the smaller, self-serving kind. Truth inspires individuals to greatness. It reaches in and tugs on both heart and mind with an irresistible lure and calls out “Follow your inner guidance and it will see you home” Alternatively, that smaller self-serving truth demands and bullies and threatens and oppresses until it achieves what it wants at the expense of the many. And in the end, all who have been frightened into submission find themselves abandoned and far from home. The differences are glaring.
We are all perfectly imperfect and Benazir Bhutto was no exception. But she dared to move out in front holding the torch that will light the way for so many others to follow. Bhutto may be gone, but the torch is passed on to others now and it is a light that will not be extinguished.
It is the Light of Truth.
> This morning I received a poem via e-mail written by a soldier serving in Iraq. It is a touching poem about military service (particularly at Christmas time), the price paid by those who serve, asking only that we remember and honor them when they return home, be they alive or dead. At the end of the e-mail, it asked that I pass it on to as many people as possible. Although I was deeply moved by the author’s expression of both sadness and selflessness, the request placed me in a difficult position in light of a conversation I had with our daughter yesterday.
Yesterday, I told our 14-year-old that I never wanted her to say or write anything in school that she did not believe in just to get the grade. I believe strongly that conformity, for the sake of acceptance or recognition, when it compromises core values and beliefs about who we really are, is a dangerous precedent that we humans have reinforced generation after generation. It’s a “follow the pack” mentality that keeps us unconscious around our choices and perpetuates so much of what is wrong in our world.
The best example is war. Which is why the poem caused me so much discomfort. Yes, that soldier has stepped-up to the plate and done what his country and his culture have asked of him. But did he search his own soul before he agreed to do what he is now doing? I often hear soldiers say, “My grandfather served, my father served, and I am serving.” This is not a reason, it’s a repetition. It’s unconscious behavior to do what has always been done. Which leads me to the saying, “The definition of insanity is doing what you’ve always done and expecting a different result.” War will not birth peace.
My husband and I appear to disagree on this one. He feels that a 14-year-old is in school to be “taught” and doesn’t need to believe in what she answers on a test in a particular class. However, that slippery slope to conformity at any price that I see beginning in grade school has me wondering if now, at age 59, he would again make the choice he made at age 19 to serve in Vietnam? I suspect not. And it would be because he is more conscious now around his choices and more aware of who he really is.
War is a mechanism to effect domination and greed. When people with the power to declare war lack the human capital to affect war, there will be no war. Making sure such people lack the human capital they require is your job and mine.
I pray the soldier who wrote the poem, and all the others, comes home alive tomorrow. I pray my daughter sees it my way and never compromises herself, or her beliefs, to advance her position. I pray that each of us takes a moment to stop before we act without thinking and follow what came before just because that is how it’s always been done or how the surrounding culture see it. I pray that each of us knows our own hearts and minds and lives our lives consistent with who we truly are.
These are my prayers this holiday season.
And this is my prose.
Pass it on to as many people as possible.
>Yesterday before I left home in the morning I quickly checked out internet headlines and, of course, the big story was that TIME Magazine had chosen Vladimir Putin as Person of the Year. Upon returning home, I again checked out the headlines and found that, by evening, the big story had become that Britney Spears’ 16 year old sister Jamie Lynn, herself a television series star, is both single and pregnant.
Two questions come to mind. “Is anybody conscious?” and “Where are their priorities?”
I actually think the former provides an answer to the latter.
It isn’t possible to be conscious (as in awake and present in the ‘here and now’ of Life)and choose Vladimir Putin as Person of the Year. I make this assertion because once one understands the power of thought combined with the powers of both intention and deed, one would never give energy to a person or idea such as Putin or what he represents. To “glorify” him (and that is what placing his face on the cover of TIME does…no matter how TIME’s editorial board tries to justify and rationalize their choice) is to empower both him and the energies of domination he represents. These are energies of a failed past that the world is moving beyond. TIME, by its action, gives life to an attempt at resurrecting that past.
So, the editorial board of TIME is unconscious. Much of media appears to be, as well. The awareness we all need to have around this thought is that an unconscious creator creates by default…not by design.
A “default drive” cannot prioritize. It creates by rote. What has been “is” and what “is” will continue to be. So, as the media remains stuck in unconscious creation, it perceives that the sex life and moral choices of a 16-year-old actress are what matter.
Not so much.
To conscious individuals, the highest good for all concerned is the place to focus thoughts, intentions and deeds. Conscious individuals understand the power of individual creativity as well as the cumulative power of collective creativity. My thoughts matter, and they matter that much more when combined with, and aligned with, yours. Ad infinitum.
So rather than Putin and Spears, I prefer to direct my energy and focus on making myself a better person each day. I am committed to not allowing myself to be distracted by the misguided wanderings of people, and organizations, with apparent power.
True power is neither Putin’s, because he is President of a nation, nor Spears’ because she is famous. Both are transient and illusory states. True power is knowing that they are, in fact, transient and illusory states. Being aware of how we behave today, where we place our thoughts, focus our intention and manifest our deeds is to know the purpose of Life and to have prioritized in light of that knowing.
> In fairness to full disclosure, I need to say right up front that we have an adopted 14-year-old daughter from China, so writing about adoption is always quite personal for me.
Writing about this particular one is infuriating.
It seems that 7 years ago Dutch vice consul Raymond Poetaray (posted in Hong Kong) and his wife adopted a then 4-month old Korean baby girl named Jade. Now, 7 years later, having never attempted to obtain Dutch citizenship for the child, the Poetarays have returned their child to Hong Kong’s Social Welfare Department citing her “emotional remoteness” as the reason why they can no longer care for her. While I have neither doubts nor illusions concerning the challenges inherent in raising an adopted child, particularly one that may not have benefited from nurturing pre-and post-natal care, it almost defies imagination that two educated people would “return” a child as one might an appliance or a toy.
So perhaps this case is about common sense and compassion…not about education. In fact, this might just be a very strong argument in favor of why academic degrees and professional accomplishments mean nothing if not balanced with a healthy dose of common sense and compassion for all living things.
We adopted our daughter from China when she was 2 years old. While we will never know what those first two years of her life were like, we can make a reasoned assumption that she missed out on all kinds of nourishment, physical as well as emotional. Such lack takes it toll. To think, or expect, otherwise is delusional and harmful for all concerned. We have had our own share of challenges in raising our daughter but are they any more or less than they would have been had we given birth to her? In either case, it is a roll of the dice.
What for us (and the Peotarays) have been emotional challenges could just have easily been emotional and/or physical challenges had we given birth to these girls. It really matters not. What matters is that when you reach out and embrace a child, you do it fully with an understanding of what your part of the bargain is to be. And even if, as in my case and the Poetarays, you underestimate the responsibility as well as the challenges, you none-the-less stand your ground in the name of love.
I often wonder what will become of a world where we disrespect and disregard the rights of children, for as I often say, “they are the future.” Usually, I pose this question in light of child slavery, child abuse, or genocide in Africa. But now I must add yet another category to this tragedy. Now I must acknowledge that for some people, children are like property to be traded in when the model does not suit one’s needs.
What gives me hope is that behind all the human failings that we are capable of, I believe in a Higher Order that is always moving towards the highest good. It appears that Jade, now in the custody of Hong Kong’s Social Welfare Department, has been placed with an English-speaking foster family and is going to a Hong Kong school while the Department looks to make a permanent placement for her in the future.
I believe that Jade will find a family that loves and appreciates her for the gift she is and that life will reward her in ways as yet unimagined by all concerned. While I deeply regret what she has had to endure in 7 short years, she has a whole lifetime ahead of her to overcome her experiences and use them to her benefit.
As for the Poetarays, who I am certain wanted to quietly dismiss and disregard this precious life they took on in a most careless and callous manner…well, they are now and forever infamous for what they lack.
>New Jersey today became the first state in more than three decades to abolish the death penalty. I live in New Jersey and have a 14-year-old daughter so this was not an easy subject for me to find my bearings on. If you recall, it was in 1994 that 7-year-old Meagan Kanka was abducted, raped and then strangled to death by 46-year-old Jesse Timmendequas. It was that horrific crime that led to the passage of “Meagan’s Law” and the federal “Sex Offender Act of 1994” both of which place post-incarceration restrictions and reporting duties upon persons convicted of sexual crimes against children.
This is a tough subject and one not easily approached by someone who has never had a loved one harmed, violated or murdered. I cannot imagine how a parent feels who loses a child or (if lucky enough to have their child survive an attack) lives with a child who was subject to such inhumanity and abuse. It would be easy to understand why parents, under those conditions, might want to see “justice done” by knowing the perpetrator, if captured, was put to death.
Yet I marvel when I see parents or loved ones of a murder victim on television, or in print interviews, express their “forgiveness” and advocate that no higher purpose would be served by executing the murderer. It’s a natural reaction if one wonders, “Where do those people get that kind of strength?”
I think I know.
It comes from a deep knowing that there are Universal Laws that provide us with the opportunity to heal not only ourselves but all of humankind as well. One of those laws is surely that killing another human being for any reason carries with it consequences and ramifications that go well beyond both the individuals and the moment. Violence begets violence. Even if you couch it in “humane” terms and conditions…lethal injections, blindfolds, whatever…the veil is transparent and serves only to hide the truth from those who are determined not to see it. Yes, violence begets violence.
One of the 8 men who have been on death row in New Jersey is Jesse Timmendequas, Megan Kanka’s murderer. He will now spend the rest of his life in prison without possibility of parole. I have thought about the two alternatives, death vs. life imprisonment, in light of this particular case and here is how I see it.
If we, as a people, put Jesse Timmendequas to death, we violate one of those Universal laws we know in our hearts to be true…and with some distinction (although not enough) we become somewhat more like him than not. If, however, he lives out his life in prison, there are two possibilities.
The first is that unenlightened and without remorse, his freedom and quality of life are taken away and he remains like a caged animal for whatever time is his by design. If, on the other hand, he gains some enlightenment and feels some level of remorse, then he will live every waking moment and breath every life-sustaining breath with the knowledge and reality of the heinous and inhuman act he committed. Either way, imprisoned for life, his is a damned fate.
Which leaves me with Megan’s family. How to justify the continued life of the man who took the one gifted to their daughter? I would not begin to try.
What I would say to them is that another of those Universal Laws is that failing to forgive is a prison of it’s own making…one in which they would keep themselves bound for no reason at all. The murderer’s prison is real and necessary. Not so theirs. They are free not only to forgive him but to forgive Life as well for such seeming injustice.
We are human and because of that limitation too often see only part of the picture, thereby missing what the whole canvas portrays. Megan Kanka gave her life so that countless other children might be spared suffering and harm. It was a life so very well spent.
May her family live on, and move on, with both honor and forgiveness in their hearts.
>There appears to be some controversy brewing over Oprah Winfrey’s support of Barack Obama. Reaction to her speeches on his behalf appear to be circling around the idea that she is injecting race into the election by her references to Dr. Martin Luther King and Obama’s candidacy being a seminal moment in African American history. I’d like to weigh in on this matter but I am not an African-American.
Which is exactly the point.
It’s too cheap and easy to accuse her of playing the race card.” I’d say that’s a pretty superficial rendering of what’s likely going on for her. You see, while I am not an African American, I am a Jew. This fact allows me 1) to partially understand her feelings as a minority within a majority culture and 2)know what it’s like to have someone from your heritage ascend, for the first time, to a position of such magnitude.
Allow me to take those two points in reverse order.
I can still recall the excitement I felt when Senator Joe Lieberman was selected as Al Gore’s Vice Presidential running mate in 2000. To live in a time and place when a practicing (or even had he been a non-practicing) Jew was able to be recognized and acknowledged for his talents and contributions and considered for the second highest political office in the country was a moment of extreme pride. When I spoke of it to others, Jew and non-Jew alike, I wasn’t “playing the religion card”…I was simply basking in the reality of having arrived at a place certain after a long and arduous journey. For me, as a Jew, not to have seen it in the context of all that came before it, would have been to somehow rob the moment of it’s meaning.
So too, for Oprah. I doubt her references to Dr. King and the potential importance of this moment have anything to do with “playing the race card.” To the contrary, Dr. King was not about separation and segregation. He was about unity and a colorblind nation. Anyone who missed that would obviously misread Oprah’s references and mistake her pride for something insidious.
My other point is more delicate. It is not possible for someone who is not a member of a minority to truly feel the experience of being one. I can only come so close to the African American experience as a result of my religious heritage.
I can still vicerally recall the first time I visited Israel. On Friday afternoon, all of the stores began to close for the Sabbath. People were rushing about buying groceries and men were buying the traditional Shabbat bouquet of flowers to take home for the Sabbath meal. Most people I passed on the street smiled and exchanged “Shabbat Shalom” (Sabbath of peace) greetings. I was overwhelmed with the sense of what it felt like to be in the majority. And the feeling was stunning. I have never forgotten it.
This is, however, as close as I can come to the experience of African Americans. The reason for that is that when I walk into a room or a public place, I do not visibly project my minority status. I can be a Jew and no one might know. But an African American will be seen as such and reacted to as such without question. Those reactions will depend upon the level of enlightenment of others. I can only assume that more often than one would hope those reactions are unkind and the source of great pain.
So, please, let us not decide how Oprah Winfrey should feel or speak about the candidacy of Barack Obama. We have not walked in her shoes and we do not know what is in her heart.
I prefer to believe that Oprah’s references to Dr. King, and her support of Obama’s candidacy, are the joyful manifestation of a long awaited dream come true…in a country where we pride ourselves on dreams coming true.
> Well, it appears that Arkansas Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is very sorry for an indelicate question he recently posed during an interview with a New York Times reporter. After discussing whether or not Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith should influence a voter’s choice, Huckabee apparently offered up, unsolicited, the question/comment, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”
I have always believed that being a good listener is an art. When you know how to truly listen, you can learn a great deal about a person by what they say, what they don’t say, and what lies unsaid between their spoken words. So, listening to Mike Huckabee’s quote was, for me, not unlike listening to Mel Gibson rant anti-Semitic profanities after being pulled over for DUI.
Now your first reaction may be that this isn’t a valid comparison because Gibson was drunk at the time of his hateful speech and Huckabee was not. But I would say they are exactly alike in that both men revealed what is in their minds, and more importantly, their hearts. Any recovering alcoholic will tell you that it’s “never the alcohol speaking”…it’s you. While being drunk may cause you to be louder (or sometimes softer) than you would be sober…or have you make more of a fool of yourself than you would otherwise…it won’t cause you to say something that, substantively, you don’t think and/or believe. And while running for President of the United States may cause you to try and please too many for the sake of a vote, it won’t make you say what you do not think and/or believe.
Even if I give Mike Huckabee the benefit of the doubt, which I must do as a spiritual Being, and conclude that his was an honest question in search of an honest answer, the fact that he posed it in such an inappropriate venue and directed it to such an inappropriate person, tells me that his judgment and common sense are simply not Presidential.
So what can we learn from Governor Huckabee’s indiscretion? I think a lot…particularly about right speech. It’s the origin of the saying “If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.” But it goes much deeper than the adage appears on it’s face. Because we literally create what we think, when we give “body” to thought by wrapping it in speech we manifest into our world that which we are thinking. That makes it pretty important that we be vigilant about both what we think and what we say.
Mel Gibson and Mike Huckabee were both contrite when what they thought and said created a public backlash. That, at least, is a good thing. It is important to stop evil speech in it’s tracks so that we do not feed the beast and perpetuate a world of separation and baseless hatred.
I repeatedly say that we are living in extraordinary times as human consciousness expands and evolves. I also repeatedly say that as the expansion is occurring, it becomes more and more difficult to hide truth and manipulate others.
Governor Huckabee has told us who he is and what he thinks by what he said and how he chose to say it.
Properly seen, it is a gift of truth that now frees up the Governor to re-evaluate what is in his heart and frees up the rest of us to vote for someone else.
>Today, I listened to a nationally acclaimed radio talk show
host asking why the “liberal” media wasn’t placing responsibility on
Rosie O’Donnell, Al Franken and other “Christian-bashing liberals” for
the shooter in Colorado who entered a Christian place of worship and Christian Mission and
randomly killed several people before being shot himself. It seems the
talk show host assumed that the shooter was driven to his act by the
rantings of the “Left” against the Conservative “Right.” The host also
wanted “equal time” (and I can only assume equal blame attributed) for what he
sees as the liberal media propensity for characteristically charging Conservatives and Christians with “hate-mongering” against
gays, feminists, immigrants and African-Americans.
It turns out the shooter was actually a former employee (or volunteer) for Youth With A Mission, the site of the first attack and shooting. He had apparently had a falling out with the organization several years prior and had been writing threatening letters ever since. So it appears to have been a “Christian” against “Christian” crime. So much for the desire, or need, to implicate the liberal media.
The second point the talk show host made is more troubling…because it is more likely founded in fact. There is a general consensus among certain segments of the population, and media, that Conservative implies a certain narrowness and exclusivity of thinking that condescends to others who are not mainstream and white. This, of course, is absurd.
As is all stereotyping.
But here’s the heart of the matter…or the lack of heart, as it were.
Why are we still not evolved enough to stop blaming anyone, and anything other than ourselves, rather than take responsibility for the state of our lives and the state of our nation? It neither serves us personally, nor collectively, to try and pass on to others the effects of the choices we make or fail to make.
Violence and hatred in our society are not the result of Liberal Democrats, Conservative Republicans, Libertarians, Rosicrucians, Wiccans or any other single political or religious organization or movement. They are the result of each of us refusing to make the difficult ethical and spiritual choices around what is good versus what is convenient.
When we stop holding hatred and violence in our hearts and minds we will stop creating them in our reality. When we stop creating them in our reality we will stop having to suffer the consequences of our own thoughts and actions.
It will be easy to dismiss this as not pertaining to you since you don’t “hate” anyone and you aren’t “violent.” But before you dismiss it completely and let yourself off this hook, ask yourself if you truly accept and allow others their differences of thought and belief without harboring either disdain or condescension towards them. Ask yourself if when in your car someone cuts you off you either think or react in a way that is retaliatory or anger based. Because while a yes to either of these examples (or similar examples) does not not make you a murderer, they are all none-the-less the seeds of hated and violence.
In order to truly eradicate from our world that which we find reprehensible we must start with our own choices of thought and action and be vigilant around them.
While there’s more than enough “blame” to go around…blame is a dead-end circle leading nowhere. The path to a loving, peaceful, non-violent world is down a road populated with loving, peaceful, non-violent people.
I’d like us to meet on that road. How about you?
> Driving in my car earlier this week, I happened to hear live National Public Radio coverage of a Democrat Presidential debate. It was certainly interesting to hear it without seeing it…having watched two prior Democrat debates on television. What was striking was the reduced tone of the candidates rhetoric. I suppose no cameras meant no need for dramatic body language or “puffing.”
What caught my attention was Senator Joe Biden’s response to a question about immigration and the borders. In true Biden fashion, the Senator pulled no punches, and both the thoughtfulness as well as the straightforwardness of his reply were refreshing and appreciated. Senator Biden likened the 12 million illegal aliens already in the U.S. and the need to address health care for their children to the issue of physical abuse of women who are in the U.S. illegally. He stated, in no uncertain terms, that “sometimes the humanitarian issue trumps the law.” By way of example, he referenced a bill he drafted and passed into law with bi-partisan support that grants immunity from deportation to any woman illegally in the U.S. who comes forward to report the crime of physical abuse. Biden’s point was that things are rarely as black and white as we would like them to be.
Whether it’s a public policy issue or a disagreement with a friend or relative, resolutions are more often than not found in the “gray” middle ground between two polar opposites. As a former practicing lawyer who spent 13 years representing individuals going through divorce, I can tell you with certainty that as much as I may have liked my clients and believed in their “version” of the facts, it was a rare occurrence when both sides didn’t have merit and a just solution needed to take both versions into account. That’s why we have judges.
So, it has me thinking about the tension between the United States and Iran over the alleged production of nuclear materials. We in the U.S have been told by our government that Iran has been relentlessly and surreptitiously pursuing production of weapons grade uranium with a passion. That belief is the basis for the present Administration’s foreign policy towards Iran as well as the basis for much media-enhanced fear. Iran, to the contrary, has been denying that it is pursuing a nuclear weapons program and accusing the U.S. of lying when claiming otherwise.
Just this past week the U.S. Intelligence Report, compiled by 16 governmental agencies, has concluded that in fact Iran ceased pursuit of it’s nuclear program in 2003. Since issuance of the findings, the Bush Administration has been scurrying around to justify it’s prior allegations while the President of Iran has been telling the world, “See, I told you so” and demanding a formal apology from the U.S.
There are, of course, proponents on both sides claiming “foul” and continuing to reassert their respective positions.
But as in all things, it’s less black and white than gray.
President Bush either knowingly or unwittingly misled the American people about the Iranian nuclear program. But it’s also true that Iran remains a volatile threat to the world with it’s religious zealotry, support of terrorism, and inflamed rhetoric. So, while both sides are right in some aspects, both are also wrong as well.
In the end, it’s not right and wrong that matter anyway. It’s how to get to that gray middle ground where truth resides and peace is found that is of utmost importance.
We are living through challenging times that present the opportunity for evolution, as opposed to revolution. It is the enlightened mind and the enlightened Soul that can see past positions to the heart of a matter where black and white become historical perspectives.