Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category
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.
I understand why Jesus smashed the tables in the Temple courtyard. I could smash a few myself. There simply comes a time when enough is enough. When every rational and civil attempt to right the wrongs has failed.
– Members of Congress have gone home for Christmas. Really?
– The President and his family are vacationing in Hawaii. Really?
– We’re told we’re in an economic recovery and should believe the numbers… not our personal experience. Really?
– Congress has a better healthcare plan that the rest of us. Really?
– Sasha and Malia have guards with guns to protect them at school. Really?
– The children of many Congressman and Senators go to private schools with enhanced security. Really?
– In 2000, then President Bill Clinton requested $60 million in federal funding for a program called “COPS in Schools” that does exactly what the NRA has now proposed and which the media is currently mocking. Really?
There is such a thing as righteous anger. Righteousness, as I define it, is the “rightful use of energy.” When energy is properly utilized and directed so that both the intent and the outcome are in alignment with eliminating that which is diseased and corrupted, then such use is necessary. As our “leaders” vacation and provide themselves with exceptions, exemptions, protections and perks unavailable to the rest of society, I am reminded of Nero fiddling while Rome burned.
At the moment I have but one prayer: “Please, God, show me the way to the tables.”
In Koheleth 3:1 (Ecclesiastes 3:1) it states,“Vanity of vanities, said Koheleth; vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” It’s a much quoted, and as much interpreted, phrase. Recently, I have come to a new understanding of vanity.
Vanity, the isolated ego, likes to say, “I did this” or “What a great person I am to have accomplished this” or “I got this all by myself.” Vanity is the false belief that any one individual, solely of their own power, accomplishes success or greatness.
This thought immediately led me to President Obama’s recent statement that became so controversial during the campaign. The President said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” His statement, on its face, seems true and consistent with my definition of vanity, which caused me to reflect upon how I, and many others, had so negatively reacted to the President’s statement.
But I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about Abraham Lincoln. Mainly because I’ve been trying to figure out what has prompted the “revival” of his story. The sixteenth President seems to be suddenly emerging everywhere…in novels, new biographies, re-printing of former biographies, reissuing of his own writings, as well as movies. Why?
I’ve concluded that in no time since the Civil War has our Nation been so divided. While in 1861 it was North against South and abolition against slavery, it is today poor against rich, black against white, Republican against Democrat… but it’s the same deeply held differences and the same destructive hatreds. What saved the Union was President Lincoln.
Lincoln, who was not traditionally religious but deeply theological, believed in both Divine Presence and Divine purpose. To that end, he called upon Creator for guidance and strength. However, he also bound himself to certain behavior based upon Divine purpose. For example, he vowed to God that if, at the Battle of Fredericksberg (Virginia), the North was successful at turning back Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Lincoln would issue the Emancipation Proclamation he had written two weeks earlier. Upon the North’s success at Fredericksberg, Lincoln did just that citing his vow.
Lincoln none-the-less understood that Divine principles had to be realized within the context of the morality of the times. Therefore, he saw the error and danger of both the radical Abolitionists (who would have instantly forced the end of slavery and destroyed the Union) and the pro-slavery advocates (who would have had their goal reached at the same destructive price).
Lincoln knew he had a partner in his vital mission to preserve the Union. He also knew his partner had the grander vision and the greater plan. Which brings me back to President Obama’s statement.
Everyone, and every idea, has its “shadow side.” This is the person or idea turned on its head, so to speak, misusing its energy to accomplish not the highest good but rather the expedient and/or self-serving outcome. Both Presidents Lincoln and Obama tell us that if you build it you do not do so or succeed alone. You have a partner. The critical difference between these two leaders is the end to which their perspectives lead a nation.
President Obama would have us believe that our “partner”…with a small “p”…is everyone and anyone along the way who had any input into our journey. Therefore, they too deserve the benefits and profits of the outcome. It is this belief in “entitlement” that has caused so much division and, now hatred, among the citizenry. This perspective generates a “right” not found in either our Bibles or our Constitution. Even God demands action on our part as a quid pro quo to Divine protection and prosperity.
President Lincoln had a “Partner” as well. However, that Partner was the Supreme Being Itself to whom Lincoln turned, drew upon, and publicly acknowledged. He was, after all, the President who initiated a Federal Day of Thanksgiving and signed a Proclamation for a National Day of “humiliation, fasting and prayer” during the Civil War. President Obama is the first President in the history of the Nation not to mention God in his formal Thanksgiving Proclamation.
Contrary to President Obama’s words, which result in ego-based entitlement and the remedy of forced redistribution of wealth, President Lincoln’s actions sought spiritual and national unity engendered by submission to the purpose and power of Divine principles.
As a result of Lincoln’s certainty in his beliefs and willingness to publicly acknowledge the role of the Divine in human history, the Civil War was followed by a stronger Union than had ever before been achieved. We truly became The United States of America. This was in no small way attributable to the insight, foresight and deeply held theological beliefs of the Nation’s leader at the time.
My conclusion is my prayer. That the Nation awakens to the shadow side of the principles that President Obama supports and advocates. We will not be joined, and will not survive, so long as we believe not in God but in government as the authority and power that makes life worth living. As we traverse these potentially perilous times, we have had quite enough “vanity of vanities.” Let us now seek to rediscover humility by acknowledging Divinity.
Devotees of Ayn Rand ask “Who is John Galt?” I would concur adding, “and where is our Abraham Lincoln?”
We are witnessing the beginning of a global insurrection aimed at the downfall of Western civilization as we know it. This is the end result of strange bedfellows having inadvertently, and in some cases deliberately, combined forces to achieve a common end: global domination.
It will be harder to reign in those forces now that we have been averse to self-correcting and accepting personal responsibility for our individual and collective contributions in allowing the world to lose it moral compass.
We have been gluttonous and greedy. We have feigned ignorance and allowed, in some cases condoned, oppression and suffering. The list of errors and omissions is not limited to the Western world. Eastern and Middle Eastern nations have suppressed and oppressed their own people. They condemned and tortured their own, often in the name of God, while diverting attention to the excesses of the West and blaming it for their own refusal to move into modernity.
Because of our unwillingness to be proactive, we find ourselves playing defense. So the question of the hour is, “How do we respond?” This is my answer.
1. Immediately bring all American troops home. They are overextended and depleted from multiple tours of duty.
2. Congress and the President to immediately cease, and suspend indefinitely, all financial aid to any country that protests against or attacks American interests. They do not deserve out help.
3. Alert the world that we will use our resources only to defend our borders and to support the defense of the State of Israel. They are a true ally and share in our humanity and love of freedom.
4. Above all stay focused upon peace and pray.
Judaism begins its 10-day holy period on September 16th which ends with the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, on September 26th. On that date, Ahmadinejad sought, and has been granted, the podium at the United Nations. Islamists love anniversaries and holidays. Do not overlook what is in the works. The time for burying heads in the sand is long gone. Awaken to the reality, take responsibility for the outcome, and create a new one before it is too late.
As I write this post, the predictors are that Hurricane Isaac, now barreling across the state of Florida toward the Gulf Coast, could result in catastrophic damage to Louisiana equal to that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Not just in the same location but on the anniversary of the Katrina disaster. Let’s pray otherwise. Since I’m a proponent of the theory that there are no accidents and everything happens for a reason, and since I’ve mentioned prayer, let’s see if there’s any ancient wisdom to be gleaned from the name of this Hurricane.
Isaac was the son of Abraham, the first Patriarch and progenitor of all three major religions. Abraham was told by God to bind Isaac to a rock (Mt. Moriah) and there offer him a sacrifice to God. Although Abraham was distraught at the instruction, it was Abraham’s unwavering faith and trust in God that caused him to come within seconds of slaughtering his own son. But it took more than Abraham’s faith. It took Isaac’s as well. Isaac was 37 years old at the time.
We all know the outcome. At the last moment, God directs Abraham to cease and desist and Isaac goes on to become the second Patriarch of the Jewish People. So what’s the message Isaac brings?
Our safety, our very survival, is dependent upon our unwavering faith and trust in a benevolent, if not always understood, Creator. It’s this unwavering faith that is often tested and, when found to be heartfelt, as often rewarded with the protection and well-being promised.
We are going through some rough times and each of us is being tested. There must have been a lesson to be learned from the Katrina disaster that we somehow missed. Perhaps it is about subjugating our Will. Perhaps it is another attempt by Creator to awaken us in time to the compassion we lack and the priorities we have confused. Perhaps it is to remember that as Abraham and Isaac…we are not separate but in this together.
Regardless of our age or our inclination to doubt, let’s follow the example of Isaac and surrender to the Will of Creator by having trust that there is meaning in the chaos and faith that there will be goodness in the outcome.
In the meantime, pray for those in the path of this Isaac.
Don’t blame the gun. It’s an inanimate object. It can’t fire itself and it cannot maintain the requisite intent to commit a heinous act. Murder, mass or otherwise, is about the lack of conscience, morality and, occasionally, sanity of the perpetrator. So let’s not get all puffed up, Mayor Bloomberg, about gun control and carried away with the moment while losing sight of the environment that fosters such monstrous acts.
Our energies are better spent understanding and quelling a society that promotes violence in every form of media, condones or remains silent when “winning” is achieved by stepping on the backs of others, and so totally devalues human life as to make abortion a method of birth control.
We have so lowered the ethical and moral bars that we’ve descended to a shameful level of human consciousness. We refuse to take personal responsibility for where we are… while too many still think the “right” candidate or “right” leader will cure all their ills.
The shooter, the hate-filled neo-Nazi, who gunned down innocent worshipers in Wisconsin is a symptom of what ails us. The disease which he portends, chaos, is spreading like a cancer. Yet, each of us can, by our personal actions, slow and even arrest that spread. However, it means not letting people like Mayor Bloomberg, and others, divert our attention from our personal responsibility by finding a scapegoat in gun control. Would it be nice to live in a world sans guns? Certainly. But it will do little good to take away the guns without instilling a corresponding understanding by humanity of our connection to one another and our Oneness. For without such conscious awareness and personal responsibility, there will be the same diseased hearts and minds who will find alternate means of destruction.
It’s not about them and it’s not about the guns. It’s about us…what we value, what we espouse and what we teach, by example, to the next generation.
I think it’s important to disclose a vested interest up front. I am an American Jew, so the fate of U.S.-Israeli relations matters to me for three reasons. As an American, I want to keep close those nations that are democratic in nature and founded upon principles and values similar to those of my country. As a Jew, I am emotionally and historically tied to the land of Israel and, particularly, its reestablishment as the Jewish homeland in 1948. As an inhabitant of planet Earth, I want the highest good for all concerned. Having now indicated that I have a “dog in this hunt” (actually, three dogs), I now approach the topic of a recent U.S. State Department action.
Yesterday, our State Department issued an official communication regarding travel by one of its representatives. A screen shot of the original release looked like this:
The problem with the release is that it distinguished Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, from Israel itself. The other names in the title of the release are countries, as is Israel. So, the implication is that in some way Jerusalem is independent of Israel. This is a fiction but one which I believe the Obama Administration would like to foster as it has previously. This is not the first time Jerusalem has been singled out by this Administration and referenced as being separate from Israel. And as happened on prior occasions, when called on it, the Administration made a “correction.” Now, the corrected version reads “Acting Under Secretary Kathleen Stephens Travels to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. (italics added).
So, where’s the harm? Well, none… if it were a one time, isolated “mistake.” But it is instead a pattern of words and actions by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, this State Department and this White House that have been hostile to a longtime friend and ally.
In so many ways we are living through an extraordinary time of change. What accompanies change is chaos. In times of chaos it is best to know what is at your core and be able to access it should you need to stabilize and even, perhaps, defend what you believe in and value. The same is true for nations.
In a technological world experiencing rapid, global, political upheaval we are both connected and reliant upon one another to a greater degree than has ever historically been the case. For any nation, ours included, seeking to self-organize within the larger self-organization taking place globally, we would be wise to know who our friends are and treat them as such.
For our government to willfully, blatantly and repeatedly disregard both U.S. law, which recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as well as Israel’s decision as where it chooses to place its capital within its own borders, is not only a violation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act passed by the U.S. Congressional in 1995 but also an insult to Israel. Worth noting is that only when Israel has been in political, military and geographic control of Jerusalem have all three major world religions had the right and the access to worship.
In case you haven’t had the experience, friendships don’t survive repeated insults. It makes one wonder if that’s the real purpose after all.
So I’m wondering out loud because if I’ve learned one thing from history its to not be quiet and to not sit down.
What if water is the Earth’s cerebral-spinal fluid and oil is her blood?
What if breath is a gift given anew every second and you haven’t said “thank you” lately or ever.
What if thinking is not the same as being Conscious?
What if forgiving yourself and others neutralizes every bad choice ever made and you get to choose again?
What if living on the edge is a good thing if the edge is where Spirit and matter intersect?
What if miracles only happen to people who believe they exist?
What if laughter heals and you’ve lost your joy for life?
What if God is a verb and Its you in action?
What if messianic isn’t an adjective but an awareness?
What if every one of these is true?
What if there is only One of Us?
Then Who wrote this and Who’s reading it?
Many think Whitney Houston died too young but I think she died right on schedule. I am not intending to be callous or glib when I say that. Decades ago I wrote that “when someone loves you it’s possible that the time comes when the only thing they have left to give you is their absence.” I think Whitney Houston has left us with a timely and priceless gift. I only hope we are enlightened enough to know how to use it.
Her blessings were many…her beauty, her voice, her faith. She lived a life rich in the fullness of them all. She also struggled with the disease of the 21st century: addiction. In her case, it was to drugs and alcohol. But addiction comes in as many forms as there are desires and presently, those of us living in this Nation of abundance are addicted to many. Whether its cocaine, sex, alcohol, wealth, chocolate, government welfare or youth…whatever…we are a Nation enslaved to our wants and desires. Our affluence allows us to indulge them all. Even welfare, one might argue, is the result of affluence. How many people of the world suffer hunger, die daily from hunger, because they live in countries too poor to provide government welfare. Even the poorest of us in this great Nation are not above losing sight of perspective and gratitude.
So why tie all of this to Whitney Houston’s death? In watching her funeral on Saturday, I noted that with a worldwide viewership, she managed to bring God center stage for a variety of religions and peoples across the globe. Her legacy isn’t song or fashion. It’s the power of faith and the Light that shines from one who has it. It was her faith that was supporting her on the way back from addiction.
By example of the lives she touched, and the sheer power of her faith, she has bequeathed us a goldmine in tough economic times. She has pointed the way toward true wealth that enriches the Soul. The wealth that flows from Love and Faith.
I only hope we are awake enough to not squander our windfall.
There are are two stories out today that defy logic and call into question our humanity.
The first is about Iraqi interpreters who worked for the U.S. military. Now that we are gone, the lives of those brave men, and their families, are in peril. They have been marked for death. Yet, that’s not the shocking part of the story. The real shock is that bureaucrats at the U.S. Embassy, in processing applications from these individuals seeking U.S. visas (hoping to save their lives) have been dragging their feet at best… and been downright arrogant and rude at worst.
In the second, unrelated story (unless you consider the lack of humanity in both stories as common ground) farmers in Pennsylvania have been using human feces as fertilizer to grow crops. While local residents have done everything they can to stop this public health hazard (waste in their drinking water for starters), what they have been told by their local government is that it’s a Federal issue as permits for such use are issued by the EPA.
Now I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t want the EPA to be my first, or last, line of defense against harm. Did you see “Norma Rae” or “Erin Brockovich?”
Common sense…that’s what’s lacking. Common sense and respect for all living Beings. If you’re still asleep and thinking that the Federal government, or even your state government, isn’t too big or too busy to protect your wellbeing…think again. As for how we treat our friends, look no further than these Iraqi translators…or Britain…or Israel, for that matter.
If there’s one takeaway from both of these stories it’s that we must rely upon ourselves, have compassion and concern for life wherever we find it and wake up to the fact the bureaucracies are helpful to a point…beyond which they become a breeding ground for inhumanity.
Now that we get it, let’s start curing this disease by voting out every incumbent in 2012 and starting over. In the meantime, call you Congressional Representatives, and the U.S. State Department, and advocate for those Iraqi translators.
I don’t know how to even begin to cure the EPA. So, for now, I guess we pray for those people in Pennsylvania.