Archive for November, 2011
Today I listened to NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross. I don’t usually listen to NPR because their guests (and hosts) say things such as they did on today’s show. A guest said, “Terry, after you come back from break I have a juicy metaphor for you” to which Gross replied, “Oh good, we love juicy metaphors.” Its talk like that I find pompous and painful… and I went to law school.
But when I do listen it isn’t for news. It’s for perspective. I like to know what kinds of thought processes drive people who think and speak as if they breathe fresher air than most of us (no pun intended!).
As I listened today, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as two of Gross’s guests connected to or in support of The Occupy Movement, “pondered” in hindsight why the media, and they, had missed what has turned out to be the undesirable outcome of the “Arab Spring.” The fact that the “Arab Spring” has morphed into an “Islamic Winter” (the Muslim Brotherhood and another right wing Islamic party have won the majority of votes in today’s elections in Egypt) didn’t seem to bother them as much as justifying and explaining away how they could have missed noticing this train wreck waiting to happen.
For me, the outcome in Egypt is no surprise. But then again, I don’t listen to NPR or any other main stream media outlet. I listen to Glenn Beck. And yes, I know the very mention of his name causes agita in many people. However, having listened to Beck for the past several years I am neither uninformed nor ill-informed regarding the events that are currently unfolding domestically and globally. Call him what you will, the man’s gotten it right almost every time.
So what’s the take-away?
I think it’s that at more than any other time in human history, each of us must listen to an inner voice and follow its guidance…regardless of what the masses are doing, what the government is promoting, or what mainstream media is marketing. The experts are antiquated, corrupt, deceitful…or all three. They have only the interest of themselves and a select few in mind.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that as in the evolution of the caterpillar, that self-gorging insect who once filled to capacity with 300 times its body weight in food hangs upside down as Nature covers it with an encapsulating chrysalis in which the caterpillar is consumed and transformed into, and emerges as, the butterfly… so too we.
The self-gorging “powers that be” are maxed out on what they can consume. As they struggle for a way out of the mess they have created, Nature, by way of direct intervention from Source, is constructing a chrysalis which will consume them and from that broken down substance will emerge the best of humankind. The human equivalent, so to speak, of the butterfly.
In the meantime…be truthful, live with integrity and hold to patience. While doing those things, remember to breathe deeply and have trust in both the intention and wisdom of God. That which can create a process which transforms a caterpillar into a butterfly shouldn’t find us too hard to handle.
Despite the tendency for Democrats, especially Liberals, to describe Barack Obama as always being “the smartest person in the room,” I think time and circumstances have shown that observation to be more than a bit of wishful thinking. In the case of Newt Gingrich, however, it’s usually true. I make this point because I want an intelligent President, as you likely do as well. But I want a President who is more than just intelligent. Intelligence without an ethical and moral framework gets you the likes of Adolf Hitler.
Before you get all upset that I am comparing either Barack Obama or Newt Gingrich to Hitler, let me say, “No I’m not.” I am simply making the point that given the fragile and transitory time we are living through, we had better be as concerned about character as we are about brain power.
It didn’t surprise me recently that Bill Clinton had good things to say about Newt Gingrich. I suspect they have a fondness for one another born of empathy. They are each intelligent, immoral and unethical. They have both said what is expedient and politically necessary, at any given time, to enhance their own standing. The have both publicly, and with arrogance, mocked their marriage vows and humiliated their wives. Bill Clinton may have given us a good economy, but he lowered the national moral/ethical bar to a new low. When I think of Newt Gingrich as President, I say to myself “No thanks. Been there. Done that.”
What we need is balance. We need it in every facet of our personal and professional lives. We need it in healthcare, finance and governance. We certainly need it in our leadership.
I have not made up my mind as to who I support or who I would vote for. But I look at the current possibilities and I see a few certainties. Barack Obama is incompetent and perhaps dangerously so. Herman Cain is history; Newt Gingrich is Bill Clinton revisited; Ron Paul is scary on international policy; Mitt Romney is very controlled and packaged…maybe a bit too much for my taste. Rick Perry says some very dumb things and does not seem large enough (figuratively) for the responsibilities that come with the office; John Huntsman has foreign policy and domestic executive leadership experience but seems a bit too idealistic for the practicalities of the job; Michele Bachman, while courageous and ethical, also seems to be lacking in “weightiness” (although I would so like to have the right woman in the job!).
At the moment, that leaves Rick Santorum.
When I examine Santorum’s public record, his personal life and listen to him articulate his current positions on the issues confronting us, I remain impressed. I think he is the balanced candidate that holds the most promise for a new direction, certainly one that is founded and grounded by experience, ethics and morality.
We are yet a long way off but the field narrows from here…unless some unexpected and unprecedented event or individual intervenes. For the moment, each of us should be asking ourselves, “Which individual will bring balance and integrity to a reality that has so lost its way?”
For me, as I write this, it’s Rick Santorum.
It astonishes me how many people remain asleep…unconscious…unaware. And how many others are living in a world of denial. I understand the tendency to bury one’s head in the sand, so to speak, in the face of so much bad news and uncertainty. Admittedly, these are trying times.
But denial never gets you anything other than delayed truth. It doesn’t obliterate it.
Here’s my latest take on fear. It’s been the tool of choice for controlling the majority of people on earth for, at least, the last 5000 years. I think it’s time we stopped buying into the illusion that energy is scarce and costly, that remedies for illness are limited to choices predetermined by a few and sanctioned by government, that politicians need be corrupt and we need to accept this as a given, and that corporations and banks need to be insatiable entities satisfying their endless hunger for money and control at the expense of those who reply upon their services and trust in their good intentions.
Energy is free. It’s in the air…the “space” all around us and extracting it has gotten everyone discredited who ever proved that to be true. Buddhism, and even physics, assert that out of “no-thing-ness,” or the void, came everything. Well, if there is nothing in the void, then it’s devoid of light, also. So light is not the Source of all that is… darkness is. And darkness is not a bad thing. Its no-thing and holds the potential from which every-thing manifests.
For these past 5000 plus years we have been living under the fear-based illusion that to break the rules gets you cast into hell (the abyss), or prison, or just plain outcast from mainstream society. As if the abyss is bad. I would ask you consider that the very thing we have been told to fear… the dark, the unknown, the “other”… is, in fact, the Source of true power. And those who have known this truth, in both religions and governments worldwide, have used that illusion to manipulate us with fear-based thinking for most of human history.
Wake up! Now! Fear is a tool to control you. That’s why there is so much “bad” news. That’s why economies are collapsing. The insatiable individuals and companies that have run our reality by fear are panicked. They are desperate and the only way they can hang on to their power is to make certain you are more frightened than you’ve ever been in your entire life.
It’s a game. Its not real. Refuse to play. Step outside the box. Follow your own inner guidance. Link up with like-minded people and stay the course. We are on the threshold of a brave new world and it’s not one ruled by one world government. It’s a world imagined by billions of individual, creative, compassionate souls who have awakened to say:
The euro is crashing. Pakistan is irate at the West and it has nuclear weapons. Inflation is on the rise. Iran has threatened to attack Israel and NATO bases in Turkey if its nuclear facilities are attacked.
Until recently, there was much uncertainty around. Now, the uncertainty is turning to fear. Fear is not an emotion a world in transition can afford to ignore…or indulge. We must be vigilant and aware that in the absence of leadership, much destruction and evil can gain a foothold as we reorganize and reprioritize our world.
Whether in the public or private sector, events have confirmed that our “leaders” are either incompetent or corrupt. We are, in fact, seemingly without guidance or direction.
This is an illusion.
Guidance and direction are located within each of us. No one will come to the rescue this time. No single individual has all the answers…but every single individual holds a piece of the finished puzzle within themselves. The first order of business is to recognize this fact. The second, to go within and access it. The third, to bring it forth with courage and conviction.
What is in your heart and what are you willing to do about it?
What unexpressed truth are you harboring?
What do you know needs to be done?
You are the leader the world is waiting for and only you can exhibit that fact in your daily life. Begin there. Live the ethics and morality you know are lacking in the world. Demand truth and integrity from yourself. Don’t await any external solution because the answer is eternal and only available within.
Gandhi said it best: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
And so it will be.
You know something is wrong. If you don’t, you’re comatose.
Corruption, greed, child sexual abuse, violence and destruction masquerading as civil unrest, denigration of morality, disregard for ethics, deceit, fraud… I could go on but the point is made. We are very off track and the track we need to be on is about to run out of rails. Without a serious and immanent course correction and repair, we are headed for a disaster.
Correction and repaid… tikkun olam.
If these words are unfamiliar it’s because you are not a Jew. Tikkum olam is Judaism’s teaching that we are here to correct and repair the world. Each one of us, in fact, has that responsibility and is here for that purpose. In today’s world, there is much to correct and repair. Quite frankly, it seems we are running out of not just track, but the time needed to set things right.
Whether it’s a collapsing global economy, Islamist terrorists, drug resistant bacteria or Nature unleashed we are, quite literally, running out of time to reprioritize what matters to us and what we are willing to do in support of standing for what matters.
I am of the school of thought that one person can change the world. Gandhi did it. So did Hitler. How and in what direction that change takes place is very much determined by what the individual values and how far they are willing to go to manifest those values.
What do you value? What do you think is worth living, and even dying, for?
These are not easy questions but they are suddenly critical ones. As systems breakdown all around us due to antiquated and dysfunctional structuring, you have to be clear about what takes their place. If not, in the absence of your knowing…I assure you there are others who will have a certainty you’ll not want to live under.
President James Garfield said, “The Truth will set you free but it will make you miserable first.” Let us be quick to awaken and accept the knowing that being temporarily miserable far outweighs being permanently enslaved.
Correct and repair. Tikkun olam.
In a spiritual economy, no one is ever unemployed.
Three decades ago a friend of mine who is a clinical social worker said to me, “Every society that has abandoned its children has failed to survive. We have a million runaways a year in this country. It’s not a good sign.” Well, wasn’t she prescient? And wasn’t that a very slippery slope.
We have fallen so far down that slope that people in positions of authority and power have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to child predators and the sexual molestation of minors. To wit: the faculty and Administrators of Penn State University and Jerry Sandusky... not to mention Judge Leslie Dutchcot who let the alleged predator walk without posting bail and without ordering monitoring of his whereabouts pending trial.
What are we thinking? Who have we become?
This story out of State College, Pennsylvania may well travel the path of the sexual abuse revelations within the Catholic Church. Sexual molestation of minors, and knowledge thereof by adult faculty and coaching staffs, may turn out to be a collegiate and professional sports team epidemic. Nor do I think its limited to those venues. Child molestation by a relative, a more disgusting manifestation of this particular deviant behavior, is likely a national problem as well.
Why? Because of what my friend said three decades ago.
In our quest for more and more instant gratification and personal aggrandizement, we lost sight of human decency, the laws of Nature, the laws of God, and as such abandoned the children. When you spend your time split between material gain and self-absorption, perspectives get warped and priorities get skewed. The children (and the elderly) become irrelevant as they do not enhance either of those self-indulgent past times.
So, the perversions of Jerry Sandusky, and the abdication of personal responsibility by the adults at Penn State who knew of his crimes, are the foreseeable end result. Only we, as a Nation, have been too self-absorbed to care.
The good news is that darkness cannot exist in the light of day. The revelations at Penn State now confront us as the undeniable error of our ways. It is too late for those innocent boys who suffered from Sandusky’s misuse of power as it is too late for the millions who have similarly suffered from similar abuse.
However, it is not too late for each of us to confront that capacity within ourselves, and openly confront that capacity when we witness in others, that would so violently violate the sacred space of another human being and misuse power to such a spectacular degree.
Jewish sages have said “To save one life is to save the world.” How much more so if it is the saving of a Soul? Perhaps the saving of one soul, one child who will not have to suffer the terror, pain, and indignation of sexual abuse, will be the salvation of us all.
Saving a life is finite. Saving a Soul is eternal.
I remember the first time I was in Rome. As I stood in front of the Senate, where Brutus stabbed Caesar, I was struck by the contrast between the facts that 1) Romans drive to and from work every day past 2000 years of history and 2) Philadelphians drive to and from work every day past 250 years of history. Which may explain the cultural differences and, for lack of a better word, maturity levels. My experience was that Europeans are more adult than Americans. They prioritize their lives differently…which led me to think about growing up.
In many ways we, in the United States, suffer from adolescence. We want what we want, when we want it. We have short-range vision. We act with disregard for the consequences. We often abdicate personal responsibility for what we say and do. We think we can disregard the rules of civility and the laws Nature. We crave not only the latest android…we want the biggest house, the most expensive car, and the clothing that shows its label on the outside. We live beyond our means and expect someone else, mainly the government, to rescue us from ourselves. Ironically, even government needs rescuing from its own irresponsible behavior.
We have behaved very much like adolescents.
So, as each of us comes to realize that our lives are not working and all of the indulgences have not gotten us the peace and satisfaction we seek, perhaps its just plain time to grow up. The place to start is to take a look at your own life, how you’re living it, what you value, where you turn a blind eye to responsibility, and decide to do something about it.
Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” He was talking to each of us…individually. The only way we will succeed at moving beyond this moment is to accept what it means to be an adult, with ethical boundaries and personal responsibility, and then live that acceptance. Otherwise, sooner or later, the teen who refuses to stop pushing the boundaries and ignoring the rules ends up watching Life pass them by.
In our case, it will be the future of a great nation that will have been expendable.