Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category
While I would prefer to avoid the news of the day, co-hosting “Above The Fray” podcast twice a week and writing to this blog requires that I keep up on what’s happening, which includes not only reading news sites and other blog posts but also the comments that accompany them. The comments give insight into what the readers are thinking but also into what the manipulators are orchestrating.
Lately both the news, and the comments that accompany it, have become disturbing for two reasons: extreme intolerance and escalating hate. Both should be an alarm of sorts…warning us that something, or someone, is fueling the flames of conflict and division. We had better be alert to where it will lead and what precipitous actions we may be deliberately manipulated into taking out of fear.
It’s probably safe to say there are very few people who do not sense impending trouble. While no one is certain whether it will be by way of the economy, terror, war or natural disaster… something is definitely brewing. As with the onset of a storm, it’s as visceral as rapidly dropping barometric pressure. We feel it… without knowing what the it is.
“It” has many disguises but only one name: Evil.
In Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, it is taught that Satan is nothing more than doubt. Doubt that God exists. Doubt that God is good. Doubt in the healing, uniting and miraculous power of the Divine. For once you doubt God, your world becomes a breeding ground for evil. In a world of duality, in the absence of “good (read “God”) a space is created in which its opposite “evil” (read Satan”) can occupy.
I’m not saying that simply believing in God is the way to oppose a market crash, ISIL, war or an earthquake. What I am saying is that when you believe in a powerful, loving and engaged force, God, you tend to live more in joy than in fear. So that when a crisis arises, you are in a better mental and emotional state to be pro-active rather than being fearfully re-active.
Now, while I’m not sure how Gandhi did it with the British Empire, I have seen it work.
I once knew an Orthodox Rabbi from New York who was perpetually happy. He had the spirit of a playful child. He commuted two weekends a month by bus from New York to Southern New Jersey to officiate Sabbath ceremonies for a small Jewish community. He usually took a return bus to New York late Saturday night after the Sabbath ended which got him into the City after dark. He would then walk to his apartment several blocks away from the bus station.
One evening, as he began to walk home from the station, a gang of black youths began to follow him. The further he walked the more they gained speed until they caught up and surrounded him. They began to taunt him, making fun of his attire and his beard. True to his spirit, he remained joyful and smiling no matter what they said to him. Finally, one of the gang members pulled out a knife. It was pretty clear what their intentions were. But at that moment, when almost anyone else might have been terrified, the Rabbi began to sing and dance, trying to engage one of the gang members to dance with him! The youths were so incredulous that when one of them said, “This guy is crazy! Let’s get out of here” they all ran.
The Rabbi wasn’t crazy. Nor was he acting. He was living his life as he always did, joyful in his faith in God. The youths, who lived lives absent God, knew only how to have a fearful reaction. Perhaps the story is the microcosm of what Gandhi was able to do in the macrocosm. I’m not certain.
But if trouble is on the horizon, in whatever form, we would be wise to hold fast to belief and trust in the invincibility of faith over doubt, good over evil, and God over the forces that inhabit our world when we fail to remember where we came from, who we are, why we are here and who, precisely, has your back.
There’s so much fear and negativity concerning Ebola that I think it’s time we identify and seize the good in this turn of events. If there were any remaining doubts that the federal government is corrupted and collapsed, it’s beyond question given its shameful response to handling Ebola in the U.S. Remaining doubts can now be buried once and for all. So where does that leave us and how can there possibly be good in the arrival and potential spreading of a pandemic? It leaves us exactly where we need be to restore this Nation to the greatness that is its potential.
No competent governance or viable solutions can be forthcoming from a corrupted, collapsed and bloated federal system. The federal government’s negligence in its response to Hurricane Katrina was the warning bell that many people heard. Too many, however, missed the calling. It was a regional problem and FEMA’s incompetence and misguidance posed no national threat so many chalked it up to a transient error and moved on. Not so with Ebola and the CDC.
The CDC’s criminal negligence in allowing a nurse who treated the Dallas man who died of the disease, to board a flight knowing she had a fever and thereby put 127 people at risk is inexcusable and actionable. The expenditures by the CDC over the past few years of public funds allocated to the CDC to study and prevent disease have been criminally negligent. Studies of monkey poop, innovative condoms and national bike trails not to mention “mood rooms” and flat screen televisions took fiscal precedent over laboratory needs and pandemic preparedness.
Any and all actions that will begin to turn the country around, provide safety and preserve individual liberties must now come first from ourselves, then from our communities, and finally from the States. This is the good news. Ebola’s arrival, and the subsequent failure of the federal government to act competently or responsibly in response, is like the moment in The Wizard of Oz when Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal the great and powerful Oz as nothing more than the deceptive illusion of mechanical bells and whistles operated by an all too fallible human.
The federal government has been broken for quite some time. Long before Barack Obama took office. He too, has been a gift…for his total inability to lead and govern has made it possible for the curtain to finally reveal the deception and the illusion. He is the Wizard and his Administration’s bells and whistles are out of steam.
So, now it’s up to us…you and me. It’s our turn, and our time, to reject the politics of deception and division and take back personal responsibility for our lives. To gather in our resources at the most local levels and organize realistic, effective and positive solutions to immediate concerns. It’s time to demand of our Governors that they take full responsibility for their state’s well-being by bypassing the constraints, and intimidation, of the federal government and do what is necessary to protect and defend the safety of their citizens.
If we are finally ready to do the heavy lifting, we can turn the fear of Ebola into the blessing of Ebola, and, like Dorothy, leave the illusion behind and go home to all that is good and real…and true.
GOLD POST IT WEEKLY INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE for 10/13
What happens if you try to play Scrabble with the rule book from Monopoly? Not so much luck, huh?
still trying to play by the old rules…and the results are stagnation and frustration.
You can’t shirk personal responsibility, or force outcomes, or intend to manipulate the facts or the truth for personal gain. You can’t even “work” the way you used to because nothing “works” the same in this new world in which we find ourselves.
Yes. It looks the same, but trust me, it doesn’t operate the same.
Different game board. Different rules. So what are they?
To move around this new board…you need to follow three simple rules.
1, Allow what is brought into your life (and stop trying to make something else happen).
2. Joyfully experience and express gratitude for all that is right in your life.
3. Hold Love in your heart for everyone and everything.
Allowing. Joy. Love. Get those down and watch how effortlessly you zip about this board.
Sign up here for my FREE Gold Post It Weekly Inspirational Message here.
Someone once asked what caused me to dedicate myself to encouraging and inspiring others to be the best they can be. I had to think about that question for a day or so before I was able to land on a reply that felt grounded in truth. The answer takes a little biblical analysis and some personal history to understand.
In describing the birth of Isaac’s twin sons, Esau and Jacob, Genesis 25:25 states: “Now the first came forth, red all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau.” In Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, it teaches that Esau was “red all over” because he was filled with the desire for blood and all things material. In fact, Esau grew up to sell his birthright as the firstborn (he was the firstborn of the twins) to his brother in exchange for a bowl of soup following an act of murder.
We always have choice. This is the blessing of Free Will. Esau, too, had a choice. Kabbalah goes on to teach that with his lust for blood, Esau could have grown up to become, for example, a butcher thereby satisfying his lust. Instead, he grew to become a murderer.
My personal story is this. Growing up, my sister always told me I was a selfish person. Perhaps I was whether I had reason to be or not. But if that was my nature, I too had choice as to how I was going to live out that nature. At some point in my life, I realized that what gave me the most satisfaction was not acquiring material possessions or making money but rather when I helped someone believe in their highest potential, supported them in moving one step closer to their heart’s desire or came to the aid of an injured animal.
So, my choice was simple once I had the realization. I could either spend my life satisfying only myself in pursuit of outward goals that society said brought happiness, or I could spend it helping people and animals to have their best life. Both ways would have been consistent with my nature. The only difference was the level or frequency of how I would actualize my self-satisfaction.
As we approach mid-term elections and the 2016 Presidential election that follows, Republicans will tell you to vote Republican to save the Nation from Democratic policies and control. Democrats will implore you to vote Democrat to save us from disaster should Republicans take the Senate. Libertarians will implore you to vote Libertarian to rescue us from governmental encroachment upon our civil liberties. Green Party advocates will implore you to vote Green to save the planet. In 2016, as in 2008, we will be inundated with new versions of hope and change.
But as with Esau and me, there is only our nature and understanding how to use it to the highest good that real change ever occurs. There are no political solutions to what ails us. There is no “change of the guard” that will alter our future. Only a change in the heart of each of us will bring about the world of peace we all so desperately desire.
Butcher or Murderer?
Self-gratifier or Giver?
Warrior or Peacemaker?
Free Will. You get to decide.
I tried to commit suicide at age 24 and came frighteningly close to succeeding…if success is ever the right word to use in such situations. As such, I have a lot to say about Robin Williams, not because I knew him but because I know exactly how he was thinking and feeling when he made the decision to try.
I would first say to those who would second guess his motives, his financial situation or his degree of “selfishness” as I have heard it referred to: DON’T… unless, of course, you’ve been to the point of consciously, albeit irrationally, trying to die by your own hand.
It’s not about the money, it’s not about the fame, it’s not about the lack or excess of anything other than feeling. It’s about feeling too much in a world that does not have enough love or compassion. It’s about living a lie and becoming the comic, the drama queen, the rebel, the alcoholic, or the workaholic in order to harden you sufficiently to withstand all the insensitivity, separation and denial.
I’m not a big proponent of medicating depression. In fact, I was coming off of anti-depressants when I used those same pills to try to kill myself. And, while one of the first thoughts I recall having upon surviving the attempt was what hell I had put my family through, it never entered my mind at the moment I made the decision. You see, when the pain gets bad enough and the fog gets thick enough, the realization that you have finally figured out a way to stop the suffering seems like a relief and that single realization takes precedent over anything resembling rational thought.
When a person tries to commit suicide, they don’t really want to die. They’ve just misplaced hope. Hope that things can and will change. Hope that the pain will ease. Hope that the fog will lift. Hope that they will ever feel joy again. Hope that on balance, life is actually worth living through all its trials and tribulations. Hope that tomorrow, or even an hour from now, it will be possible to give and receive love again. Which is why everyone, not just people who are depressed, should sit up and pay attention to what Robin Williams was driven to do.
We are living in a world overwhelming us with so much negativity that we are losing hope. You see it in the growing apathy. Apathy unchecked leads to hopelessness. Where is the outrage and help for innocents beheaded or buried alive? Where is the outrage, and help, for the Iraqi’s stranded on a mountain top? Where is the outrage and help for children being used as sex slaves and pawns in a political game? Where is the outrage for female genital mutilation as a “religious” practice? Where is the outrage for corrupt, lying, greedy politicians who prosper at our expense and our decline? Where is the outrage at what’s happening on our border? Where is the outrage at what we do to animals every minute of every day in the name of science? Where is the outrage at the manipulation of our economy for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many?
I know. I know. You are tired. You are overwhelmed. You feel powerless. You are dancing as fast as you can dance. So was Robin Williams. That’s the cautionary tale he bequeaths us.
His most important message and he brought us many through his seemingly endless creativity, is that having to feel less, or dying, is not the answer. The message of immediate importance is for each one of us to finally embark upon creating a world where kindness, cooperation, compassion and love are the norm not the aberration.
A world where feeling too much will only get you more joy.
I have long lived by the certainty that everything is energy. This includes money which, by logical extension of thought, includes the economy. The evolution and advancement of humanity has always been tied to its understanding, harnessing and application of energy. Since human nature, in its lower form, contains elements of both selfishness and greed, there are those who throughout time have sought to understand, harness and apply to their sole benefit, the production and distribution of money for the purpose of concentrating power among the few.
What we witness Hamas inflicting in Gaza, and what occurs throughout the radical Islamic controlled regions of the world, is a combination of physical and psychological enslavement. Through terror, brute force and total disregard for quality of life (or life itself) such “leadership” profits and prospers while sacrificing the very people it claims to be representing.
We in the West should not be quick to judge how the Palestinian population could allow and participate in such a diabolical arrangement as we in the United States are living in an “economic glass house.” Instead of physical and psychological enslavement we in the West have been blindly cooperating in our own financial and psychological enslavement.
By way of understanding and controlling the means of production, distribution and regulation of the energy of money, and the mind-altering control of the means of dissemination of information by media…elites and power brokers in this country have enslaved us as surely as those in countries we condemn for lacking humanitarian policies. The only difference is the subtlety and masking of true intent as executed in the West. While Islamists use kidnapping and torture as their weapons of choice, the U.S. government and global power brokers use the Federal Reserve, the World Bank and social engineering as theirs.
What humanity must do, and do in a hurry before escape (freedom) is no longer a viable option, is to plunge the stake of truth into the heart of the beast of enslavement that has been sucking our life’s blood from us for at least the last 100 years. We can do this by awakening to the truth of what’s happening and taking a lesson from the ancient Israelites who were economically and psychologically enslaved to Pharaoh: they opted out in a hurry.
We too, must now hurry to opt out of a corrupt and diabolical system that manipulates us through the illusions of “lack and fear” and which have caused us to become indebted and addicted to a fiction that “more and faster” is better.
You must opt out of the lie that you are only one person who has no ability to know what is happening to you and lack a voice to articulate that knowing.You must opt out of fear and all its progeny…victimization, depression, frustration, impotence, rage, violence, and hate.
Step into who you are. Step into your connection with all that is good and true. Step into the memory of what freedom feels like and reclaim your birthright.
Slow down. Self-source. Have courage. You have the answer and you know the way out.
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.
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.