March 30, 2005
Count Every Vote
A piece of legislation currently being reviewed in Congress is called the "Count Every Vote Act," which would guarantee a paper trail for all our national elections. Below are the names of the committee members reviewing the bill, and it is important that we let them know how very important this issue is for us. Unless we know who really wins our elections, then democracy itself is nullified. Call, write letters, send emails, pass along the info....
States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
305 Russell Building
United States Senate
Washington D.C. 20510
Chairman, Trent Lott, MS
Kay Bailey Hutchison
C. Saxby Chambliss
Ranking Member, Chris Dodd, CT
Robert C. Byrd
Daniel K. Inouye
Charles E. Schumer
Richard J. Durbin
E. Benjamin Nelson
Susan Wells, Staff Director
Kennie L. Gill, Democratic Staff Director and Chief Counsel
States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
305 Russell Building
United States Senate
Washington D.C. 20510
Posted by mwblog at 9:08 AM
March 26, 2005
She who weaves the broken day cloth,
ill matched threads the world presents
Weaves the pieces gracefully in thanksgiving
as if to a single song seamlessly she weds
as in a single song, a grace before going
It is she who drives the animals from the barn
She who drives the stars to turn, the milk
to churn, She who drives the drunken drones
to go home, she who drives the loudmouths
drunken brawlers, dead cows and merchants
from the great hall of the dark iron night
clearing the space and time for a different
time, different celebration and call,
almost like a fifth chamber to the heart
a new star o'er the tossing season's sea
a new breath a'spring freed
to the lone star,
to the one you
late in the soft
dark gown evening of life.
You are the partner and companion
to her loneliness and aloneness;
she never talks, yet you are the center
of her unspeaking core, her monologue
each disclosure, each opening
stretches your horizon beyond giving
to receive more the world is offering,
You thought you held her, but all this
time she was holding you to the deep
nest of her silence
between her heart beats
silent and expectant, patient mother
even lover; holding your wings
till you fly.
~ A Robert do Rilke Prod. of Woodward Rose~
(Woodward Rose, Stone Crickets on the Path of Eros; a new book of poetry by Robert Thibodeau), the Wit-Nest, the Holy Guardian Angel within each of us frees
by watching in a silence that wakens us
Posted by mwblog at 8:42 AM
March 20, 2005
Victoria Woodhull, an Extraordinary Woman
I recently read a book by Mary Gabriel called "Notorious Victoria." It is the biography of Victoria Woodhull, an extraordinary woman who was both a clairvoyant and spiritualist, suffrage leader and the first American woman to run for President. Particularly for women, I think, her story is amazing. I highly recommend the book, which can be found on Amazon.com.
Posted by mwblog at 11:28 AM
March 18, 2005
BEING THERE FOR RAM DASS: An Open Letter from Wayne Dyer
One of the truly great men of our time needs our help. I write these words to encourage your generosity and support. Back in the 1960's a Harvard professor named Richard Alpert left behind the hectic world of academia and business and traveled to India - there he was to meet his spiritual teacher who gave him a new purpose to fulfill along with a new name. He is of course Ram Dass.
His guru told him love everyone, feed people and see God everywhere. Ram Dass became a person who lived out this mandate - he did what so many of us could only dream. He connected to his spirit and devoted his life to serving others.
In 1969 he wrote and published the signature book on spirituality and applied higher awareness, Be Here Now. In keeping with his commitment to love everyone and feed people, he donated all of the royalties and profits to a foundation that did, and does just that. With millions of dollars at stake, Ram Dass simply chose to live his life as a man of service to God. After years spent in India in pursuit of a higher more enlightened consciousness for himself and for our troubled world, he returned to the United States to lecture throughout the country. He spoke to packed venues wherever he went, and as always he donated the proceeds to such causes as would keep him in harmony with his mandate to serve. He co-founded the Seva Foundation (www.seva.org) where all of the monies were earmarked to fulfill his mission. Ram Dass and his writing and lecture fees were the primary sources for this inspirational work.
To me Ram Dass was and is the finest speaker I have ever heard, period! He was my role model on stage; always gentle and kind, always speaking without notes from his heart, sharing his inspiring stories and always with great humor. I tell you this from my own heart; I could listen to his lectures for hours and always felt saddened when they would end. He was the voice for Applied Spirituality - his life was the model. When he was threatened by having his own private sexual preference exposed, in a time when a closet was the only place that was even mildly safe, Ram Dass called a press conference and proudly announced his preference to the world. He is a hero to everyone who ever lived in fear of any kind of spiteful exposure. He paved the way for tolerance and love when no one else would dare to do so. Most of us could only dream of defying the conventional life and living out our inner callings to promote a cause that was bigger than our own lives - to leave the security of a guaranteed career - to leave a country where comfort was ensured; all to live in a foreign land with few conveniences, traveling and meditating for a more peaceful world. It is what St. Frances did in the 13th century and what Ram Dass did in our lifetime.
When Ram Dass' own father, who had largely criticized his son's passion as well as his unconventional lifestyle, was close to death, Ram Dass devoted himself to 100% service in those final years. He fed his father, he bathed his father, he placed him on and off the toilet until the day he died. Why? Because he felt this was his mandate. He wanted to experience true service on a 24/7 basis and know firsthand the joy that comes from giving one's own life away in the service of others. Always, for over 30 years, Ram Dass was in the service of others.
In 1997 Ram Dass was struck by a semi-paralyzing stroke and was forced to live in a wheelchair. Still he wrote of his adventure in a powerful book titled, Still Here. He continued to travel, though he could no longer walk, and continued to speak to audiences, though he spoke from a slowed down body but still he did it to serve others.
Now it is our turn... Ram Dass' body can no longer endure the rigors of travel. He has come to Maui, where I live and write. I speak with him frequently and I am often humbled by the tears in his beautiful 73-year-old eyes as he apologizes for not having prepared for his own elderly health care - for what he now perceives as burdensome to others. He still intends to write and teach; however without the travel - we can now come to him. Maui is healing - Maui is where Ram Dass wishes to stay for now! He is currently living in a home on Maui, which he doesn't own and is currently in jeopardy of losing. I am asking all of you to help purchase this home and to set up a financial foundation to take care of this man who has raised so much money to ensure the futures of so many others. To live out what Ram Dass has practiced with his actions. Please be generous and prompt - no one is more deserving of our love and financial support. In the end these donations will help ensure that Ram Dass and his work will reach another generation or remind a current generation that it is in giving that we receive.
If there has ever been a great spirit who lived in our lifetime, literally devoting his life to the highest principles of spirit, it has been Ram Dass. I love this man; he has been my inspiration and the inspiration for millions of us. It is now time to show him how we feel by doing what he has taught all of us to do - Just , BE HERE for him, NOW.
Please send your donations to: Ram Dass c/o Hay House P.O. Box 5100 Carlsbad, CA 92018
In love and light,
Posted by mwblog at 9:36 AM
March 16, 2005
Politics and A Course In Miracles
I got this letter on my comments page, and because it represents such a hot issue for students of "A Course in Miracles", I thought I would share it along with my response....MW
I am just now listening to your address from Feb 19th. You surely have accomplished speaking skills, but I deeply wonder how you think your views in any way reflect the teachings of ACIM. I have been a student and teacher of the Course for 18 years, and I don't see any platform for political action within the teachings of ACIM.
Can you explain this to me? Can you show me anywhere in the material where God would have any interest or investment in our work to change the world? I have a growing ministry, and have begun to be publish within the ACIM circles. I want to find a way to not see our roles as adversarial. Can you help me?
Thank you for your letter.
As you well know, ACIM says this world is not real, but rather illusion. But it also says that "illusions are as powerful in their effects as is the truth." While we are in the illusion, it feels real indeed! People suffer. Horrible things occur. They are illusions, yes, but they are our experience.
When you walk into a room and someone is having a nightmare, you don't say, "Oh, it's not real. They'll be fine in the morning" and then leave them alone. No! You shake them by the shoulders and wake them up! Their experience was not real, but their suffering still matters. You don't say about a serial killer stalking the town, "Oh it's not real, so there's no reason to try to catch him." The line in ACIM, "I need do nothing," means, to me, that I of myself need do nothing. We are to rest in Him, yes -- and while that is a matter of where our minds are placed, it does not necessarily mean He will never lead us to take some action. The point is that He will guide us what actions to take!
The Holy Spirit is a bridge between the two worlds. He is sent by God into the illusion to help lead us out of it. He uses the experiences OF the world to lead us BEYOND the world. Forgiveness itself, according to ACIM, is "the last illusion." ACIM talks about "the highest level of thinking of which the ego is capable." There are levels of thought that are still within the illusion, but which lead us out of it -- such as the desire to heal the sick, feed the poor, etc. Remember: according to ACIM, the world is not bad; it is nothing. Whatever we use here for purposes of healing, is holy. Whatever we use for purposes of separation, is unholy. And I am moved by Gandhi's statement that "politics should be sacred."
Everything, according to ACIM, is relationship. And every relationship is here to be healed. To me, politics is just another relationship. And an important one.
Politics as we know it is of course unreal. Of course it is illusion. But it exists within a darkened corner of the world, which we are not here to IGNORE but to TRANSFORM. The Course says, "Look at the crucifixion, but do not dwell on it." If you dwell on the illusion, it is true that you increase it. But if you do not look at all, you cannot be an instrument of resurrection. As He says in ACIM, "I cannot take from you what you will not release to me."
We are taught that we are to be ministers of God. He sends us where He can use us best. And given how politics affects the world today, why would He not send His teachers there? We are here to transform the world, not just study ACIM, or simply pray or meditate. Remember, the Course says He wants to use our hands and feet. Wouldn't that mean we are going to do something?
And now the most important thing: I think a lot of people, with legitimate concerns such as your own, think any kind of disagreement is negative. But I do not. Only in a totalitarian state are people all supposed to think and speak the same way. The fact that we disagree with each other doesn't necessarily mean we don't love each other. Is a marriage where the couple cannot disagree a better marriage? Were preachers who didn't speak out against slavery in the US, or against Jews being taken to concentration camps in Germany and elsewhere, being spiritual? I do not find the statement of an opposing political position of itself an adversarial stance. This is not personal, unless we make it so -- which I try very much not to do.
So that's it. Thank you for raising such an important question, and for giving me the chance to reply.
All my best,
Posted by mwblog at 7:02 PM
March 15, 2005
Miracle in Atlanta
There is a line in the Bible that says "What man intends for evil, God intends for good."
You want to know if miracles have practical application? You want to know if there is indeed no order of difficulty in miracles? You want to see how the meek will inherit the earth because, as it is written in A Course in Miracles, "their strength will literally take the place over?" If you want to see an example of how miracles cast out darkness, just witness the testimony of Ashley Smith describing her experience with Brian Nichols, the man who killed the judge and several others in Atlanta last week.
This woman -- who was initially bound with tape by a murderer-on-the-run and then ended up making pancakes for him and talking about God with him for hours -- embodies the essence of a miracle-worker mentality. She displayed the true Christ mind, the Buddha mind, whatever mind you want to call it when humanity is aligned with the love and true power of God.
In the end, she walked free. She stopped his rampage. And she displayed for the entire world to see a prophetic vision of what is possible. She is a new paradigm thinker and a new paradigm lover. When asked why she thought Nichols didn't kill her, she responded, "Because I didn't judge him." She saw the innocence in his soul that lay beyond his criminal insanity. He was right when he later described her as an angel. And she didn't just come to him.
Her press conference the other day was not just stunning news, or stunning television. It was stunning theology. This woman has got it.
Posted by mwblog at 9:19 AM
March 10, 2005
Spirituality and Depression
I get a lot of questions from people on the subject of depression. I hope this is helpful to those who might need it...
SPIRITUALITY AND DEPRESSION
In A Course in Miracles it is written that happiness is a decision we must make. I don't have a problem with that in theory, but I have often found making that decision very difficult. There are times when layers of grief or frustration or loss or sorrow seem almost impenetrable, unbending to my mere mortal decision not to dwell on them. All four of my grandparents having been born in Russia, I have that Russian soul thing -- the deep, dark, desperate feelings that make for great literature and art at times, but often very depressing lives.
One night not too long ago, my housemate said to me,
"So are you ready to be mad at me?"
"What do you mean?" I asked him. "Why would I be mad at you?"
"Well, often I get mad when people tell me the truth," he said.
"So what's the truth? Tell me."
He proceeded gingerly. "Well, I think you're thinking pretty negative thoughts."
And I didn't disagree. It was hardly like I had failed to notice. I was stuck in a pattern of looking at everything around me in the saddest light possible; this had been going on for weeks, and for my daughter and my housemate it surely had to be getting old. And yet, at the same time, I had valid reasons for sadness. He and I talked about the balance between allowing ourselves to grieve a sad situation, and the self-discipline of deciding not to give credence to what from a spiritual perspective isn't real anyway.
In the realm of the real (love), I'm so blessed it's ridiculous. And even in the realm of the unreal (the illusions of the world), what I call problems are so small compared to what many others endure with considerably more grace. My sadness wasn't really about any of the things my mind was telling me I was sad about. My sadness is simply at times an emotional habit. And I can break it.
After a long conversation, during which Casey was certainly straight with me but with compassion and no blame, I went upstairs and had an epiphany. The phrase I kept hearing in my head had something to do with "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps." I realized that I have done that countless times on a material level. Yet now I had to pull myself up by my bootstraps emotionally, and temperamentally that is harder for me to do. But the principle is the same. There are times when you simply have to make a decision to rise above the pain of the world. And when you do, the world has a way of changing with you. It is absolutely nothing but a reflection of your mind.
When I was younger, I had an interesting pattern of depression. For years, like clockwork, I was inconsolable for one full day exactly thirty-six hours prior to the onset of my menstrual period. From the first moment when I would be struck by an overwhelming sense of sadness, until exactly twenty-four hours later, there was absolutely nothing that I or anyone else could do to relieve my grief. But at the same time, because I knew that it was this monthly "thing" (with predictive qualities, no less!), I simply accepted it and knew it wouldn't last.
I know, therefore, that there are times and situations where depression is chemical and cannot be treated by something as simple as pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. But that is not the kind of depression that plagues most of us. For millions of us, we're depressed ... but if we're honest with ourselves, we don't have to be.
It's not a mystery to me what it takes to get me out of my depression; doing A Course in Miracles religiously, every morning; spending enough time on prayer and meditation and forgiveness; and physical exercise. If I do those things, I'm in a pretty good mood most of the time. But what's interesting to me, given that they are clearly a ticket out of my pain, is how often I resist at least one of them. So doesn't that mean that I'm as attracted to the pain as I'm desirous of avoiding it? Isn't there something in all of us that makes us coddle our bad feelings? And isn't the adage in the Course absolutely true that we think we have many different problems but we really only have one? My real problem isn't one thing or another that I might think that I'm depressed about. My real problem is my strange propensity for being depressed.
I see that propensity as almost like an addiction. Just as some haven't picked up a drink for twenty years but do not kid themselves that the urge to do so couldn't crop up at any time, so I realize that no matter how happy I ever get, my depressive tendency is like a sleeping snake at the base of my spine. I have it in me, like some ancient and ancestral emotional undertow.
But I'm okay now, because I did what I need to do today. Happiness truly is one of those "one day at a time" type of things. Do what you have to do today, to be happy. Give. Love. Pray. Meditate. Be kind. Read serious spiritual literature. Exercise. Do something constructive. Contribute to someone's life. Atone. Show up for your life. Show up for the people who love you. Show up for your work. Practice being who you want to be.
And when you do that, something amazing happens. You start to live the life you want, simply because that's the life you showed up for.
What I think is this: Be sad when you have to be, but never ever put your suitcases down and decide to move in. You don't have to; it's a choice. Life is simply a series of choices. And God has created the universe to support our choices, because that is how we learn to make better ones.
Depression might have chosen you, but you don't have to choose it back. Sometimes happiness comes with bootstraps, but so what? Pull 'em up. Choose joy.
Claim your life....
-- Marianne Williamson
Posted by mwblog at 6:42 PM
March 8, 2005
Finding Our Next Dream
A friend told me the other day that he can't find his next dream. "I feel like if I knew what it was, I could go for it," he said. "But I can't quite figure out what it is."
He echoed what I think is a pervasive feeling, as many of us can't relate to the dreams we used to have in quite the same way anymore. We feel a strange disinterest regarding goals that had seemed so exciting before, as though we had been dreaming dreams that belonged to a self we no longer are. A maserati for the maserati's sake just isn't the same thrill anymore. When we were children we loved to play with toys; but something has happened and we are children no more.
I reminded him that any system seems chaotic in the period right before it jumps to a new and higher order. I think our new dreams have not arrived yet because our new selves are not quite formed yet. We are gestating the next phase of our personhood, both as individuals and as a species. We don't quite know what we want next because we don't quite know who we will be next. And this moment of not-knowing in our lives -- during which it can appear that nothing much is really happening -- is perhaps the time when more is happening than ever. It is the moment from which all other moments flow. It is the cosmic grounding for whatever emerges next.
The re-emergence of the goddess means, among other things, an appreciation of feminine imagery as it relates to our experience of life. And nothing is more feminine than that we conceive life, it gestates within us and then we give it birth into the world. That is exactly what is happening today, with our consciousness the womb from which will emerge a new humanity.
Humanity is pregnant with a new experience of itself, and as is always true when one is pregnant, we have no idea exactly what's coming. We are giving birth to a higher evolution of ourselves, and the dreams we will be dreaming next are the dreams our new self will be dreaming. The very best thing we can do right now is to be restful and happy. New life is growing in all of us. And when the time has fulfilled itself, the child will be born.
Posted by mwblog at 10:00 AM
March 2, 2005
And now, for Zen Judaism!
If there is no self,
whose arthritis is this?
Be here now.
Be someplace else later.
Is that so complicated?
Drink tea and nourish life.
With the first sip... joy.
With the second... satisfaction.
With the third, peace.
With the third, a danish.
Wherever you go, there you are.
Your luggage is another story.
Accept misfortune as a blessing.
Do not wish for perfect health
or a life without problems.
What would you talk about?
The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single "oy."
There is no escaping karma.
In a previous life, you never called,
you never wrote, you never visited.
And whose fault was that?
Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
The Tao does not speak.
The Tao does not blame.
The Tao does not take sides.
The Tao has no expectations.
The Tao demands nothing of others.
The Tao is not Jewish.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Forget this and attaining Enlightenment
will be the least of your problems.
Let your mind be as a floating cloud.
Let your stillness be as the wooded glen.
And sit up straight. You'll never meet the
Buddha with such rounded shoulders.
Be patient and achieve all things.
Be impatient and achieve all things faster.
To Find the Buddha, look within.
Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers.
Each flower blossoms ten thousand times.
Each blossom has ten thousand petals.
You might want to see a specialist.
To practice Zen and the art of Jewish
motorcycle maintenance, do the following:
get rid of the motorcycle.
What were you thinking?
Be aware of your body.
Be aware of your perceptions.
Keep in mind that not every physical
sensation is a symptom of a terminal illness.
The Torah says, "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
The Buddha says there is no "self."
So, maybe you are off the hook.
The Buddha taught that one should practice loving
kindness to all sentient beings. Still, would it kill you
to find a nice sentient being who happens to be Jewish?
Though only your skin, sinews, and bones remain,
though your blood and flesh dry up and wither away,
yet shall you meditate and not stir
until you have attained full Enlightenment.
But, first, a little nosh.
From Zen Judaism: For You a Little Enlightenment by David M. Bader (Harmony Books) Â© 2002
Posted by mwblog at 10:05 AM
Help Stop the Genocide in the Sudan
This is a follow-up to my letter several days ago about genocide in the Sudan (click here to read letter). For those of you aware of the Rwandan massacres several years ago, this is a current situation of similarly disastrous proportions. The Sudanese government and its murderous Janjaweed are massacring non-Arab Africans within their country.
The United States is currently providing humanitarian assistance and President Bush does support appropriate sanctions, but we're not taking a seriously strong lead in stopping the genocide. This is much like what happened in Bosnia as well as Rwanda; thousands are dying horrible, horrible deaths (example: small children having their faces beaten in by rifle butts) while the world talks, waits, argues....and takes forever to act.
Only the loud and clear voices of the people will cause a shift. And that means YOU.
One beginning step would be the passage of the Darfur Accountability Act, being introduced in the Senate today by Senators John Corzine and Sam Brownback. The legislation calls for several desperately needed measures -- including expanding the ability of the African Union to deal with the genocide and help stop it. Please, no matter what else you are doing today, call your Congressperson and Senators (go to www.congress.org for contact information) and tell them you want them to do everything they can to stop the genocide of the Sudanese Africans. That is how democracy works; Congress is a reactive body, and the single most powerful tool for stopping this madness would be a massive amount of phone calls and emails into our Congressional representatives.
Most of us know the Edmund Burke quote: "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for enough good people to do nothing." Never has that been more true.
I urge you: please do not do nothing.
All my best,
(P.S. And please help spread the word)
Posted by mwblog at 9:08 AM