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February 21, 2011

A DEPARTMENT OF PEACE: To Dream, Then to Act


On February 18, 2011, Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced HR808 into the 112th Congress, calling for the establishment of a US Department of Peace. The crux of the DOP would be the establishment of an Executive level department in the US government, whose purpose would be to investigate, articulate and facilitate non-violent solutions to both domestic and international violence. It was President George Washington who first argued that in addition to a War Department we should have a Peace Department. In honor of his birthday, let's be as forward thinking in this area as he was.

Given the current make-up of the US Congress, the passage of the bill this session is somewhat unrealistic of course. But that does not matter; no true warrior for peace and justice ever let "realism" stop them. If that were the case, there would have been no abolitionist movement, suffragette movement or civil rights movement. When it comes to doing the right thing, it doesn't matter whether the status quo is with you yet. You just keep on keepin' on. We're building something in the ethers here; when the tipping point will get here, no one knows.

The idea of this bill getting out of committee this year is almost laughable, but so what? Let's not let laughter stop us -- let it propel us. Laughter is a powerful thing, as long as it's a laughter in anticipation of what you know in your heart is bound to become reality someday, rather than the cynical laughter laced with inner tears at the sight of what already is.

For two per cent of the current Dept. of Defense budget, this bill would celebrate and honor and -- most importantly -- support with actual resources the extraordinary peace-making efforts of Americans both here and abroad. It's not enough to simply fight violence with violence. We must do more than that; we must proactively create a world in which violence has no room to breathe. This is hardly some pie in the sky idea; it's an idea that would institutionalize the drive towards peace creation. Whoever wants to laugh at that can laugh. There is already enough support given to a war machine in this country; it could be argued that were we in our right minds, we would cry all day just thinking about it. So why shouldn't we create a peace machine? As John Lennon said, "Let's give peace a chance." One of the ways to do that is by giving it some political heft.

On President's Day, let's remember these words of President John F. Kennedy: "Those who make peaceful evolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable." Today, let's take a stand for peaceful evolution, despite the extraordinary material forces arrayed against it. The ways of violence and brute force have always amassed material power, but don't let that stop you. Love has cosmic support.

This President's Day, do something that you might do if you were President. Take a stand for peace. Write your Congressperson and give support to the Dept. of Peace bill. Tell him or her you'd like them co-sponsor it. Find out more about it at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-808. Write an Op Ed, attend a Town Hall meeting of your Congressperson, send this information to your mailing list. Make a beautiful noise about a beautiful idea.

We won't eradicate war until we more deeply embrace peace, and that takes more than just a wish or even a prayer; it takes spine. One of the leaders of the Egyptian protest movement said something remarkable after the resignation of Hosni Mubarak. He said, "We're dreamers and we made it happen." We're dreamers too, but dreams must do more than dream. Now we must do the "make it happen" part.

What better day to do that than on President's day. And who knows? If our noise is loud and powerful and beautiful enough, even our President might hear....

Posted by Marianne at 10:16 AM | Comments (5)

February 20, 2011

THE MYSTICAL CHRIST

The Biblical line "There is only one begotten Son" is interpreted by traditional Christians to mean that Jesus was the only one, but to the metaphysical among us the line means something different. It is not an exclusive but rather an inclusive statement. "There is only one begotten Son" means that there is only one of us here.

Just as Swiss psychologist Carl Jung posited the notion of the collective unconscious -- mental imagery he called archetypes that we all share -- the spiritual notion of the Divine (or Christ) Mind takes things one step further: if you go deep enough into your mind and deep enough into mine, there is something deeper than just shared imagery. If you go deep enough into all our minds, we share the same Mind. We share one source point, or true identity, and that is love.

For that reason alone, the Golden Rule is a good idea. For if there is only one of us here, then what we do unto others, we do unto ourselves. It may seem to take time for things to show up that way: the person we do whatever we do to may or may not be the person to slap us or hug us back, but someone will. The realization that there is only one of us here is both an illumined realization and the wisest guide to behavior. For if I realize that whatever I give I give to myself, then I'm a whole lot more careful about what I give. They say karma's a bitch, but in fact it's a blessing. The point is to use it well.

We are joined as brothers because we are joined, period. This is the mystical meaning of the line "one in Christ."

Posted by Marianne at 9:25 PM | Comments (5)

February 2, 2011

IN THE LAND OF EGYPT

In a radio interview this morning I was asked if I have hope for the future... whether I think love will ultimately prevail on earth.

From a spiritual perspective, yes love will ultimately prevail. Buddha became enlightened; the Jews made it to the Promised Land; Jesus resurrected. All those are religious tales that inform us of the basic imprint of the universe. No story is over until the happy part, and if it's not happy yet then the story isn't over.

But that is only the beginning of a framework for understanding. We mustn't let the phrase,"Love will ultimately prevail," be a mere platitude that serves to justify complacency...either spiritual or political. For whether we learn to love one another through wisdom or through pain is completely up to us. How long it takes before love prevails is completely up to us. How much human suffering occurs before love prevails is completely up to us. Free will does not mean we get to determine what ultimately happens, but it does mean we get to determine what happens in the immediate future to us and to those we love.

When you have thousands of people acting out a high-emotion, high-stakes drama such as that which is occurring in Egypt today, almost anything can happen.

On the one hand, we are witnessing the purity and power of the quest for freedom. The demand for basic human rights, the repudiation of a dictator, and the protest of an economic order in which 40 per cent of one's population lives on less than 2 dollars a day - all of this is a pure, democratic rising up of the human spirit. And if America doesn't stand in support of those things, then we've completely lost our own moral center.

At the same time, this situation has gone from volatile to violent. Freedom is rising, but the forces of oppression are cracking down. Chaos overrides not only the impulse to freedom but also the impulse to basic human decency. Blood is spilling. People are dying.The situation has gone from liberating to tragic.

Right now, let's pray for a miracle.

May a great wave of sanity and peace flood the minds and hearts not only of the protestors, but also the military and police and government. The phrase "may cooler heads prevail" comes to mind. May men and women of honor and good will within every corner of Egyptian society be listened to, and their words and ideas heeded. May thousands of small miracles that you and I will never ever know about quiet down a conversation over here, cause a peaceful solution to emerge in a neighborhood over there. May a general sense of peace and good will - something we'd seen almost miraculously on display at the beginning of the protests -- return to the streets of Egypt.

Try closing your eyes and see, with your mind's eye, legions of angels roaming through the streets of Cairo. Do this as frequently as you can throughout the day. It is no idle fantasy. This is the exercise of spiritual power, and in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., such power is "more powerful than bullets." Even when we are materially passive, he said, we can still be "spiritually active."

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle means that as the observer changes, there is a change in that which is observed. Worldly news anchors report the news: miracle- workers help change the news by the nature of their thoughts. And the greatest medium of miracles is prayer. So today, let's pray for Egypt.

Dear God, please pave a miraculous path for the people of Egypt, to peace and freedom and joy unending. Bless their hearts. Guide their minds. Illumine this moment. May love prevail. Amen.

Posted by Marianne at 2:49 PM | Comments (2)