Wednesday, June 8, 2011

So much of what we are exposed to is about being told WHAT to think. I really encourage all of us to work more diligently on HOW to think. That is to really examine if what is being expressed reflects what is true for you. I just finished two wonderful little books that I feel are helpful in this respect. They are: Buddhism: It is not what you think; and The Naked Now: Learning to see as the mystics see. Please do not let the titles effect you. Both authors talk about how to clearly see and think for ourselves. They are useful in all areas of our lives. Let me know what you think!

Monday, May 30, 2011

I created you from love. Why do you hate? Reflection on war.

I am very distressed when I see war and God linked together. Associating religion and killing is a very dangerous (an seriously inaccurate) alliance. A cartoon editorial today displayed God as saluting soldier in a way that communicates his approval for war and killing as a way to create peace. Hmmmmmm not sure that is what God (or whatever your faith refers to) really intends for us.
Peace only happens when we work towards creating patience, openness, and compassion. Gandhi "defeated" the British without raising a gun, and let's see, did Jesus, Buddha etc. exhort us to raise arms against one another? No.
My son reminds me that as long as there are "bad guys," there will always be the need for war. Perhaps. Let's remember that there are people who also see us as "bad guys too."
We also see this mentality in the political dialogue as well. One side needing to justify itself by vilifying the other.
So when do we stop all this "bad guy" stuff? Take a long hard compassionate look at that picture of this Earth rising above the horizon of the moon, and realize that we are all on this planet together. No one, and I mean NO ONE has the authority to define another as a "bad guy." We really cannot afford continue this type of hateful thinking.

When will we begin to look at one another as anything other than a miracle?



Sunday, March 27, 2011

On Wisconsin

No, this is not the fight song for the UW. This is about the fighting going on in Wisconsin. I debated with myself about whether to weigh in on this. Obviously I decided to. I am not Republican, nor Democrat. I vote people and issues. I have voted Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, and Green. I am not spoon fed what to think and how to vote by slick marketing spin doctors, nor self righteous leaders of political parties. I think for myself. So, with this said here I go.

This is for ALL of our elected state leaders. First, go back to Kindergarten! Learn to share and play well with others. Running away to try and get your way is not really the way to work the system. You abdicate your responsibility of representing those who elected you to have a voice in Madison. On the other hand, deciding how to do an end run while half your team is absent is just plain poor sportsmanship. Yes, it can be done….but why?

Second, Go back to High school and re-take Civics class. Remember this is a participatory democracy. That means to participate! All of you, for the betterment of all of us! It also means to remember the adage “Of the people, by the people.” Not of the Republicans for the Republicans, or of the Democrats by the Democrats! When political agendas subjugate the democratic process we are all in trouble. This isn’t happening only in Wisconsin either. Look how often you are defined by what news channel you watch! Yikes!

Finally, this is for Governor Walker. Lead by leading. Not by intimidation and threats. If you want people to trust and follow you, set the example. For example, move out of the Governor’s Mansion (this has been done before) and into a 2 bedroom apartment (maybe this hasn’t). Give up the servants, the cooks, and the people who do your laundry and live like the rest of us. Pay yourself $1 for the first year of your term. If you want the rest of us to tighten the belt and make concessions, then try doing this yourself. I think you would get far more cooperation and respect.

In closing, let’s not loose sight of one very important oft ignored issue. Politics aside, we must look at how we are treating one another. Using this time to point the finger, give the finger, blame, accuse, and use violent and aggressive language towards one another is extremely divisive and unbecoming. Exciting apprehension and anger is a serious symptom of people reacting out of fear and feeling out of control. As if their voice do not matter. Is this what we really want? Changes have to be made, no doubt. But, to scare people into submission just is not the way to do it. Neither is to retaliate out of hostility. We are a state (and a nation) seriously divided. We must remember the bigger picture. We have a precious Democracy to protect. We are all in this together, and it will take all of us together to get through these difficult times.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why shoud we be so surprised?

Why should we be so surprised?

It is so curious to sit back and watch the hostility and aggression being used to decry hostility and aggression. Sadly, this tragedy, while presently newsworthy will not change things appreciably. Nothing will change this sort of behavior until our fundamental orientation to each other and to our world changes. Watch the venomous finger pointing, blaming, holding certain people and groups accountable. This sort of thinking is not much different from the deranged thinking of a Jared Loughner. Be scared, be angry, and point it at someone you do not like!

We are sadly reminded of the pervasive violence in our country by the horror in Tucson. But why should we be so surprised? We are and have been a very violent nation.
What Jared Loughner did merely reflects who we are as a nation. Responsibility for his actions must be borne by all of us! What one person does, we all do.

Now lets talk about fear. Specifically, how fear has been used to manipulate individuals and nations. This is well documented. When Germany was in a serious state of economic crisis, a man named Adolf Hitler capitalized on the national fear and distress by maximizing every German’s fear, and subsequently identifying an enemy: the Jews. You know the rest of the story.

Now, there are many other instances of how peoples fear was manipulated: Jim Jones, The Crusades, Pol Pot, religious extremists, Ku Klux Klan. They all utilize the very same strategy. Whip up as much fear as possible and find an enemy to take it out on. Power hungry people are skillful at manipulating fear, then identifying an enemy to blame for the fear,

Human violence permeates all of our lives. Not just the newsworthy violence that captures our attention until the next news item is put in front of us. There is the violence perpetrated on a small girl, alone in her bedroom being sexually abused by a family member. There is the woman who gets her jaw broken because she was 3 minutes late coming home form the store. There is the hate and violence aimed at blacks, immigrants, gays/lesbians, Democrats, Republicans, etc. Fear attempts to frighten and silence. So why do we act as if the actions of Jared Loughner are so out of the ordinary? They are not! The just remind of what we wish to ignore on a wholesale scale.

So why aren’t things going to change as a result of this violence? Well, simply put , because of fear. When we relate to one another out of fear we no longer can feel any sort of empathy. Fear turns others into things to protect ourselves from, and we then react accordingly. Fear blinds us (hence the saying “blind fear”). The child is no longer a child, it is a thing to act out power and control needs; that woman is no longer a loved one, rather a thing that threatens; Democrats/ Republicans are no longer people who have hopes and dreams, but villains, which threaten the very fabric on our country.

So, you see, this tragedy in Tucson will not change unless, we as human beings, wake up and recognize how dreadfully our most basic fears are being manipulated for the gain of those who want power, wealth, and fame. As soon as we recognize this sort of manipulation, we will be far less likely to be driven to rain violence down on each other. We will be able to live by the words:

“You are none other than me with a different name and a different face.” And treat each other with great patience, openness, and compassion.

Fear is the basis of all violence, greed, hatred and war! Stop the manipulation! Think for ourselves!

When we listen to and begin to live by the great teachers (Christ, Buddha, Krishna, Merton, King, Gandhi and of course many others) then this madness will stop.