Monday, September 27, 2010

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Arrival, oil on canvas, 4 x 5', 1973-ish

Good advice, right? But how do you be happy? An effort of will? Probably, but still, how? Just flex those happy muscles? That’s one of the attractions of Tolle’s work, laying out as he does a method of cultivating what most people would accept as happiness or at least highly desirable, a state of peace… and joy. By joy I don’t mean the Joy-to-the-World of holiday Christmas carolers… or maybe I do, or maybe they do. Whatever, what I mean by it is the state of consciousness where one deeply experiences being. There is a feeling of novelty when one shifts over from mind-chatter to awareness which expands the deeper one goes into it, when one begins to realize the spectacular miracle of existence, of consciousness… joy seems an appropriate word to describe that feeling. Love is another, the feeling that accompanies realization of interconnectedness, of Oneness as the so-called mystics throughout history have noted.

No one sees the face of God and lives. That Old Testament Dylan line I believe comes out of scripture somewhere and expresses the fear one experiences when glimpsing depth-reality through the lens of the dominant paradigm of separation. Terror dissipates when one feels interconnectivity. Merely thinking it is just another belief, likely to be overruled by the inherited patriarchal assumption of separateness. I venture that when Christians say “Jesus loves you” This is what they mean, the experience of interconnectivity… just other words for it – not attractive to me because of all the baggage I bring to that but theoretically equivalent.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Email Exchange

This is my reply in an email exchange that evolved out of a discussion that seemed to me to equate Muslims with terrorism:

This is where we agree, I think: we both oppose people who harm others, who dominate them, deny their freedom, lie to make themselves look good and others bad, deny people their rights under the constitution and the bill of rights and also our rights under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed I think by all member nations

This is where we disagree, I think: the things that we agree on up there should be the focus, we should hold ALL citizens to those principles. it isn't ALL Muslims who violate them and it isn't ALL U.S. citizens who follow them... we need to go after those who violate them whether they are in Saudi Arabia or the U.S.... and by we I don't mean the U.S., I mean anyone on the planet who cares about those principles, and by "going after" I don't mean with violence ... I mean with law and persuasion, and patience for we ourselves are not so enlightened that we might not be violating other's rights without being aware... and if we are patient and prepared to listen as well as speak we might be persuaded and change our behavior - if we expect it of others then we must expect it of ourselves.

These are ideals we strive for. If we don't make them our main priority then we will have war and with the kind of weapons available and developing, the planet and its people will perish in nuclear holocaust, if not directly then in the aftermath when the environment, the life-system, breaks down, from radiation, nuclear winter and also from the pollutants that our life choices are more slowly but definitely creating - are we on the same page or are we still in different books?