Archive for the ‘Behavior’ Category
We are living in extraordinary times. There isn’t anyone I know who does not feel the profound upheaval and changes we are experiencing both globally and personally. One of the awakenings taking place is the realization that we are free to see, and therefore create, a world of our choosing. We need not be enslaved any longer to someone else’s reality or to the perspective fed us daily by a variety of media outlets and politicians.
Which leads me to write about “compassionate war.” I realize the phrase itself seems like an oxymoron. How can you have something as violent and destructive as war and see it in terms of compassion? The answer lies in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.
My focus is not the politics of the conflict nor is it the terrorist designation of Hamas. It’s about Israel and the manner in which it has chosen to prepare for and proceed with this inevitable clash.
In two weeks of fighting, Israel has agreed unilaterally to 4 separate halts in the armed fighting. Two of those were humanitarian requests, one by Hamas itself, which Israel honored and Hamas did not. Israel literally built a hospital at one of the border-crossing check-points to treat any wounded Palestinians who would need treatment. No one has showed up. Israel offered and readied millions of shekels, (Israeli currency is 3.5 :1 as against the US dollar) so at least one million dollars, of medical supplies and equipment to deliver to Gaza but the Palestinian Authority rejected the offer.
Israel has spent millions of dollars building bomb shelters throughout Israel and in these past two weeks, 75% of its population has had to use them. In Gaza, tens of thousands of tons of cement and building supplies intended for schools, office buildings and homes were diverted by Hamas over the past five years to burrow and build elaborate tunnels underground from Gaza to Israel to be used in a mass terror attack scheduled for this coming September 25th, the first night of the Jewish New Year.
Perhaps most astonishingly, Israel has done what no other nation in the history of the world has done. It gives advance warning to Gaza’s citizens where and when they will strike. By way of leaflets dropped by the Israeli Air Force, cell phone text messages and twitter postings, Israel gives the Palestinians every opportunity to flee a known missile launch site before striking. Hamas has deliberately positioned those sites in homes, schools, graveyards, and mosques while ordering Palestinian men, women and children to remain where they are despite certainty of injury or death.
Just today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that any lasting truce will require 1) the “demilitarization of Gaza and social and economic relief for the Palestinian people there.” Even in the midst of war, the Israeli’s are looking out for the well-being of their adversary.
All civilized people who revere life want a world without war. However, as long as there remain uncivilized people who glorify violence and death there will be a need for defensive action.
In the Torah, the Old Testament, it talks about the nation of Israel being a “light unto the Nations.” I think it is fair to say that in a defensive war thrust upon it, Israel has and continues to act in ways that exemplify how even in the darkest of times, honorable men and women can shine a light upon their humanity and reflect for the world our connectedness to one another.
Steve Clark (my co-host on Above The Fray Podcast) and I post independently of one another. I get to read his blogs the same way you do which is when they’re published. Yesterday, when I read his post titled “We’re All Drug Addicts” I knew I had to write my own thoughts on a topic about which I have first-hand knowledge. In fact, when Heath Ledger overdosed, I was contacted by several media outlets to weigh in on the subjects of addiction, suicide and drug overdose. (A fully developed interview of me following Ledger’s death can be listened to here.)
Anti-depressants are proven to lead to and/or increase incidents of suicidal thinking. In my twenties I battled depression and anxiety. A physician put me on anti-depressants and tranquilizers to combat the condition. When I realized I was addicted to the medications I decided to stop taking them. Shortly thereafter, I tried to commit suicide and came very close to succeeding. It was a turning point in my life as it awakened me to the realization that I had to either do it again and succeed or begin to live my life differently. I choose the latter.
It is now decades later and I live a joyful and rewarding life. In no small part it’s due to a different addiction. I mediate daily. Your reaction may be “Well, that’s stretching it a bit since mediation is hardly an addiction.”
But it is.
I need to meditate every day. I’m at a loss when I don’t get my “fix” of that meditative state. Without those feelings of peace, joy, calm and clarity that I receive from meditation I feel tense, discontent, frazzled and off my game. So you see, I am addicted. But I’ve also consciously chosen my addiction because it enhances rather than diminishes the quality of my life.
The point is that it may just be human nature to be addicted. Some choose alcohol, drugs, pornography, chocolate, gambling, serial adultery, masturbation, twitter, clothes shopping…whatever. Regardless, we humans have Free Will and so get to choose that to which we are addicted.
For me, the contrast is no contest. On drugs, I was sedated, slow of thought and harming vital organs with unnecessary and toxic side effects. On meditation, I am sharp of mind, peaceful of spirit, accepting of life and creative of soul.
So to paraphrase Steve, if we’re all addicted remember: You get to choose to what.
It’s certainly easy to become frustrated, angered, even enraged at national and global events. Terrorists are summarily released from Guantanamo to inevitably return to their pursuit of our destruction; original IRS files under investigation, allegedly lacking any archived copies, suddenly disappear and the hard drive that housed them is destroyed; literally thousands of illegal immigrants pour across our southern border daily while the Federal government, charged with our protection, stands by idle and silent; the most radical of radical Islamic terrorists murderously and savagely tear their way through Iraq seizing cities and imposing Sharia Law as they go, negating the efforts we made and the lives we sacrificed to bring that nation a chance for freedom; food and energy prices soar upward while we are told there is no inflation and one hundred million, one third of our population, are unemployed.
Overwhelmed people feel victimized and are susceptible to manipulation by anyone promising an end to their frustrations. Enraged people are reactive, fail to reason and consequently, think before they act. Neither false prophets nor indiscriminate actions can serve us now.
What’s needed is very simple, if not necessarily easy:
1. Pull back to your most basic and immediate needs and environment.
2. Ask yourself, “How will gratuitous anger serve me?
3. Ask yourself,” What can I do to simplify my life and reduce stress?”
4. Reach out to neighbors, friends or colleagues to establish a community of support for one another.
5. Commit to not allowing yourself to be seduced into blame, violence or hatred of others.
6. Identify and stand firm in your core beliefs regardless of their political correctness…so long as those beliefs are not at the expense of another.
7. Hold fast to faith in humankind’s awakening to the realization that united we stand and divided we fall as All are One.
8. Allow truth to emerge from within you rather than allow an agenda to be imposed upon you.
Every historical period has its challenges. This one is no exception. What causes pain and suffering is not change. It’s our resistance to change. The world is changing in rapid and profound ways. Old patterns of behavior and correction will not work. When we switched from horse and buggy to the combustion engine, you could not fuel that engine with oats…although those oats worked just fine under the old system.
Rather than judge who did what and how we got here, let’s use our intellects, our hearts, and our individual uniqueness to co-create solutions. The dawn of a new day brings the opportunity to either repeat yesterday or live today anew.
Free Will. You get to choose.
I vividly remember why I did not vote for Barack Obama in 2008. I had been browsing the stacks at a Barnes and Noble and came across a small book written by a former New York Times writer, an African-American who laid out the case that Barack Obama was in search of an identity based upon his bi-racial upbringing combined with early childhood exposure to policies and agendas both foreign and domestic. The author, himself a product of mixed racial parentage, suggested Obama was wrong for the job and even implied that combined with the Senator’s professional and political inexperience…perhaps even a hazard.
It’s hard to know where to begin in cataloging this President’s errors, failures, missteps and lies. From Obama’s multiple unilaterally decreed amendments to Obamacare; broken assurances that Obamacare would not only reduce premiums $2500 per year but also allow people to keep their doctors; faulty judgment in supporting Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; security failures in Benghazi; a Department of Justice that has covered up the Fast & Furious scandal; selective targeting of conservative groups by the IRS; a systematic process for obscuring the truth about medical care for our Veterans and, most recently, freeing five deadly Islamic extremist terrorists in exchange for one alleged deserter.
So here we are with two years left to a Presidency few people trust and for good reason. President Obama has misled, and at more times than I’d like to think, lied to the very people who put their trust in him. While I was not one of them I none-the-less expected more of him than what we got.
In addition to that book at Barnes and Noble, I recall an astrological chart that had been done on the President at the time of his election. It was on the Internet and compiled by a well-known Vedic (Indian) astrologer. In the last paragraph it said this President would enter the office as one of the most beloved leaders and exit it one of the most despised. This, I believe, will occur.
Whether it was the book or the chart, we would have been better off following one or the other rather than a man who promised “Hope and Change” but has delivered, above all, deception and corruption.
Many scoffed at members of the “spiritual communities” that began warning at least 5-7 years ago that we were going through a “paradigm shift.” The forewarning was that systems which had been in place for hundreds, if not thousands, of years would be breaking down. The breakdown in the integrity and effectiveness of the Federal government and its administrative agencies has been increasingly evident over that same time period but nothing can compare to the VA scandal… and for very good reason.
It was inevitable that without awakening and addressing the negligence and corruption of government, we were destined to come face to face with the undeniable. For it is only the undeniable that has historically, too often, been the only catalyst for our awareness and action. The VA scandal, the total disregard for the well-being of honorable men and women who served this country upon a belief and a promise that they would be cared for and supported both in battle and upon their return is the undeniable proof of the incompetence, impotence and corruption endemic within our government.
Just as it isn’t change that causes stress but rather resistance to change that is its cause, so too is it not our system of governance that is corrupt and broken but rather the deliberate misuse of that system by its leaders for personal aggrandizement, financial gain and control.
Within and during the worst of times there is always a purpose and a higher perspective. Sadly, we humans too often fail to see either until adverse circumstances reach critical mass. The VA scandal is such a moment of critical mass. It is also, therefore, a moment of profound enlightenment and transcendence for those with eyes to see and the courage to act.
We are awake and able to discern deception in any disguise. We are awake and feel insincerity wherever it resides. We are awake and throw off the bonds of an enslaved consciousness. We are awake and know fear and separation for the tools of manipulation that they are. We are awake and as loving expressions of Creator we own our role in Divine Being. We are awake and we will never be returned to ignorance, slumber, and denial.
Knowing plus action is the key. Let those currently in service, as well as our Veterans, now be served.
In every other aspect of our lives, let Truth be spoken, let Love unite and above all let darkness be enveloped and transformed by Light.
Neither gun control, knife control nor any legislation can or will make us better people or more able to resist what is the very human inclination to misuse energy in all its forms. Tragedies, such as what occurred in Santa Barbara this week, have been part of human history for as long as that history has been passed down orally or memorialized in writing. Cain killed Abel without a gun.
Whether you believe the Torah/Old Testament as the literal word of God or only a warning of what has been human nature from time immemorial…it matters not. There is evidence as far back as humankind that we have refused to accept that life can be disappointing and others may have what we desire. Then, failing to obtain either satisfaction or those things we covet, we compound our mistaken perspective by concluding that we have the right to use violence to get what we deem to have been denied.
Whether it’s a sick, tortured and delusional young man in California, neighbor against neighbor, or nation against nation the use of violence is born of the illusion of separation. The illusion that I can hurt the other without hurting me. That what I think and feel and do are limited to me and the small world in which I believe myself to be the epicenter.
Five Thousand plus years of this illusion have proven to be not only wrong but consistently and repeatedly destructive. Now, for the first time in humankind’s history the capability to be thoroughly self-annihilating as a species is before us as is the means to actualize that destruction with unprecedented speed.
Free Will is what can save us from making an irreversible mistake. But exercising that will in an era of technological addiction and deliberate manipulation of human consciousness requires great courage and focus. It requires that each of us unplug from the sources and forces that would keep us enslaved to a separation mentality. It requires enough awareness to know that no political solution is uncorrupted. It requires joining the masculine, scientific mind with the feminine, compassionate heart so that balance can be restored to a species that has chosen to live under the illusion that we as individuals are helpless and need rely upon political power to accomplish miraculous deeds.
Nothing could be further from Truth.
Do not believe what you read. Do not believe what you hear. Do not believe what you see. Believe only in the knowing that you are Infinite Divine Being in action. You are a co-creator and absolutely everything you think, say and do matters.
Thereby comes the correction.
If you cannot imagine how or why the Veterans Administration has been so shamefully negligent and criminally deceptive in its treatment and record keeping look no further than what Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said on March 12, 2009. At that time, he stated that the Obama Administration had a proposal which would require U.S. military personnel to pay for their own medical treatment for injuries sustained while in the line of duty. A proposal the Administration refused to take off the table when petitioned to do so by Veterans’ groups. Yes, you read that correctly. U.S. soldiers to pay for injuries sustained while fighting or defending, for or on behalf of this country, with private medical insurance paid for by those same soldiers out-of-pocket.
Fast forward 5 years and what do we discover? The same Administration and the same players, President Obama and Secretary Shinseki, have allowed or created a system of medical care for Vets so negligent, so duplicitous and so deadly that it just might either 1) cause soldiers to actually seek private medical insurance or 2) convince the public that the VA can no longer afford to effectively and efficiently manage the system…thereby recommending some private form of self-insurance.
Do you really believe that people who think our soldiers should pay for their own healthcare for injuries sustained in the line of battle are going to efficiently, and with integrity, administer VA hospitals in a way that encourages Vets to seek treatment? President Obama is “madder than hell?” You believe he cares! Why in the world would you?
The ends justifies the means. The motto of an Obama Presidency and Progressives generally.
Whether its leaving behind 4 Americans in Benghazi, turning a blind eye for 52 days to a Vet chained to pirson walls in Mexico for having made a wrong turn on the freeway at the U.S.-Mexico border, or failing to provide the most basic medical care to courageous men and women who answered this Nation’s call to service, this Administration is a disgrace and so too will be a Nation that allows itself to continue to be duped and manipulated by these same people and a complicitous media.
Stupid is as stupid does. The problem isn’t them. Its us.
Do you realize we have just had 139 primary races across this country in advance of the November mid-term elections and NOT ONE incumbent was outvoted by their challenger. We just voted to keep the same crooks, incompetents, and professional political class in office in which we have a 20% trust factor.
I know you’re busy and dancing as fast as you can to keep up with your life. But that’s the plan. Overwhelm you so you’re just too tired and feel too helpless to affect anything. Exhaust you so you’re a good little sheep and go your merry way…never realizing the whole herd is being driven right off a cliff.
Stop feeling dis-empowered. Its the wrong attitude and leads to a disastrous outcome. Until we find a better shepherd for this flock let’s stop following the one we’ve got and start thinking for ourselves.
Have we not lost our way when a U.S. Veteran having served in Iraq and Afghanistan languishes chained in a Mexican prison because he accidentally drove over the border with his weapons in his vehicle while our President and Congress are doing everything they can to fast track illegal aliens (many criminal) to becoming U.S. Citizens?
Have we not lost our way when President Obama personally takes time to call Georgetown University law student Sandra Flock to congratulate her for seeking taxpayer money to fund her choice of contraception while the same President does not take the time to fire the head of the Veteran’s Administration for a cover-up and total failure to provide medical care for our Veterans?
Have we not lost our way when a federally mandated academic curriculum called “Common Core” is designed to stifle creative and independent thinking while using public education to promote a political agenda while gathering intrusive personal data on both students and parents alike?
Have we not lost our way when you need a photo ID to obtain a driver’s license, obtain any hospital out-patient or in-patient procedure, purchase over-the-counter sinus medication, donate blood, carry out bank transactions (even deposits now!), cash A check or pay for purchases by check, purchase a gun, obtain Social Security benefits, be booked for arrest, visit a school if you’re a non-student, adopt a child, pick up packages at the post office, produce at a routine traffic stop…but not to VOTE?
Have we not lost our way when we march and protest over cruelty to animals but are indifferent to 50,000,000+ U.S. abortions (many of them late term) in the last 30 years?
Have we not lost our way when schools teach, as early as third grade, the intimacies and technicalities of sexual acts but teachers, administrators and politicians rebel at the mention of God in those same classrooms?
Have we not lost our way when a parent is arrested at a school board meeting for objecting to prurient and pornographic subject matter in his child’s textbook and every other parent, present with the same objection, sits by silently in fear without standing up for the father?
Have we not lost our way when we make believe that some politician will reverse the social and economic nightmare we are living rather than take responsibility ourselves for what needs to be done?
Have we not lost our way?
The next time Secretary of State John Kerry chooses to describe Israel as heading towards an apartheid state he would do well to closely examine the reaction of world Jewry to L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s bigoted remarks about African Americans. There is probably no other People on earth, living in or out of Israel, more sensitive to bigotry, bias, religious persecution and hate speech than Jews.
Sadly, the Secretary’s comment was founded in either 1) ignorance of historical fact or 2) his own apparent bias about Israel, its people and its government. I hope it is the former, although in a position of such gravitas requiring heightened diplomatic skills neither is acceptable nor excusable.
Arab Israeli’s make up approximately 20% of the population. Historically, Arabs living within Israel since 1949 have enjoyed more freedoms than Arabs living in any Arab speaking country. Since 1949, Israel has seen 70 Arab Israeli’s elected to the Knesset (with 13 serving currently). Arabs serve in the Supreme Court, the Cabinet, the Israeli Defense Forces, the Israeli police, as emergency medical service providers, doctors, businessmen, entertainers, television personalities and in a multitude of positions within every aspect of civil society. In 2004, Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered that every public company have at least one Arab Israeli on its Board of Directors.
Does this seriously lead anyone other than Secretary Kerry (or Arab extremists seeking the annihilation of the State of Israel) to conclude that an apartheid Israeli nation is a foregone conclusion? I think not.
Personally, I stand with former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, who today said that “children are running our foreign policy” and with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) who yesterday called for the resignation of Secretary Kerry.
Ignorance is only bliss when it does no harm.
“Divide and conquer” is a strategy as old as time for a reason. It works. The more you can disperse an opponents forces the weaker you make him. Of course, the converse is equally true…”united we stand.” So it should come as no surprise that entrenched power, wherever it is found, seeks to turn any opposition against itself with the intention being to distract and disperse.
Initially Bundy, the Nevada rancher standing up to the Bureau of Land Management and thereby the Federal Government, was viewed as a modern day David against a modern day Goliath. Others saw him as a Patriot and rushed to his side to stand with him. However, as it became known that Mr. Bundy had violated the law on his way to taking a legitimate stand on States’ rights (by not paying his grazing fees) and further that he seemed to speak with bigotry about African Americans, the tide quickly turned against him. His less than stellar behavior quickly eclipsed the larger legitimate issue of Federal Government overreach via land grabbing.
The mainstream, not-so-mainstream media and the population in general have been quick to be seduced by getting lost in the “he’s a good guy” no “he’s a bad guy” debate. Divide and conquer at work.
Our Federal Government is out of control and is incompetent and/or frighteningly ill intentioned as evidenced by its mismanagement of the economy, its overreach of federal powers, its foreign policy, and its redistribution of wealth efforts through Obamacare. However, if we allow ourselves to focus on the all to human Cliven Bundy, who has his strengths as well as his failings (as well all do) then we will be distracted from the larger issue… which is exactly where the powers that be want us.
United we stand or divided we fall. Each of us must choose. Focusing on common ground rather than our differences serves us better now and is certainly true about what we will be able to accomplish in the future.