Love stems from the awareness that we are not alone.
Does the Source want us to reach the promised land? No. The Source wants us to be on our way there, to walk toward it. There is no promised land: only a dirt path with spectacular scenery, our two legs, and good travel companions. The path is rocky and slow-going, but we learn much along the way. There are lots of alternate routes, and each one takes us to new vistas and landscapes. When we finally do arrive at the place for which we yearn, we find that it’s just another dirt path taking us somewhere else.
How a coal company destroyed a community:
Sociopaths, murderers, con-men, sadists, and bystanders before violence are all part of the same cosmic body as heroes, rescuers, protectors, saints, and gentle souls. We are all on the same path, only some of us perhaps further along than others. When we punish evil, which we must–often harshly–we need to remember to have compassion for all human beings, no matter how rotted and degraded they are. They are our family; they are us. That is a form of wholeness: to be able to condemn (sometimes to kill to protect the lives of others or our own) while also acknowledging our common humanity and shared divine spirit.
A NEW DAY
© 2010, Dr. Laurence H. Kant
Essay for the Evolutionary Envisioning Circle of the Annual Great Mother Celebration, September, 2010
A new day emerges, as so many have in millennia past. Once, after we foraged and gathered, we became hunters. Once, after we hunted, we became farmers and shepherds. Once, after we lived in villages and small enclaves, we became city dwellers. Once, after priests and kings ruled, leaders came from the people. Once we did not know what was on the other side of the ocean; now we can not only travel there by boat or jet, but we can be virtually present on other continents when we’re secure at home half a world away. Once we thought that mass violence and genocide were normal; now we don’t. Once we did not even have a word for genocide; now we do.
Each time we move a few steps closer to the land of Eden, where, amidst friendship, dance, love-making, study, and work, we will dine again with God, the Source of All That Is. The sparks of fire that scattered at creation slowly come together to create a flame that lights our world in times of dissolution and chaos. We move from confusion toward knowledge, from fear toward courage, from despair toward hope, from separation toward unity, from pieces toward wholes.
What is wholeness? In Hebrew and Arabic, shalom/salaam connects to a Semitic root that means “whole” and “complete.” Some say “peace,” but that’s only part of the story. In its mystical sense, shalom/salaam really means interconnected oneness. It is that place where difference and oneness coexist, where each being finds its own unique purpose and self-expression as part of one planetary tableau, one eternal poem, one cosmic body, one collective consciousness, one Source.
During the shift, the ego (the I) recedes, and the authentic person emerges from its mother’s womb. The true self, the person You truly are, takes its place in the chariot palace, near the blazing wings of the multi-headed cherubim and the flashing heat of the serpentine seraphim. There it dines with other new-born true selves to seek wisdom in the new Temple of Knowledge and Love. Feminine and masculine energies, whose significance we assumed we understood, reveal unexpected meanings to thinking bodies and heart-filled minds. Days of pleasure and collective communing finally allow a slumbering species to shed its ego hide and put on a healing garment of shared awareness.
What will wholeness mean for evolving human culture? “Conformity” means a mass of individuals forming a collective mega ego (an I). Genuine “community” means a critical mass of individuals building a whole that transcends the individual egos and creates a collective Higher Self.
The events we see on our television sets and computer monitors—boiling, jittery delirium and tumult accompanied by earth’s eruptions, swirling storms, and disappearing ice—signal a shift from one age to the next. There will be many more such shifts in the future. But, for now, at this moment, our twenty-five-hundred-year sojourn at the inn of familiar habits, nations, and institutions has ended. Dying structures make way for new. Another day of travelling begins toward another inn on the road circling back and forward from and toward Eden. Here, in another time long, long ahead, we will be able to eat of both trees—of life and knowledge—but with experience enough to do so as humble partners of the Source, adult co-creators, sharing in the miraculous birthing of new worlds.
As a Jew, I thoroughly share the sentiments of Rev. Jim Wallis. The TaNaKh and rabbinic tradition command us to take care of the poor and marginalized. That why we are told not to plough the corners of our fields. When the Hebrew Bible and the rabbis talk about caring for the needy, they refer to communities and governments. The structures envisioned in those texts are governmental, and they *require* (not merely suggest) a society take the needy into account. This tradition does not focus on voluntary acts and association, but on political structures that create a just society. Those who try to convert these into free-market scenarios, which advocate economic commitments that are solely private, do not understand what the texts actually say. Those who know the Hebrew and the history should start articulating the true nature of this tradition, which demands that governments protect those in need.
Neal Boortz says that people have a right to be angry and use whatever imagery they wish as long as they do not resort to violence. Of course, there is no legal question here. Free speech is guaranteed by the first amendment to the US Constitution. But is it wise to use such imagery? I’m angry about many things in our culture and politics, but I would try not to use imagery that others can misinterpret or take literally. When we talk about targeting a political opponent with gun imagery, or taking second amendment remedies if we lose at the ballot box, or publicly describing our opponents as evil, unamerican, or alien, or musing or joking about assassinating politicians we don’t like, we have crossed the moral line.
Further, metaphors and symbols are not simply colorful ways of speaking, but the core elements of communication and expression which human beings use to articulate ideas and give voice to feeling. They express our most deeply held worldviews and values. When we use them, we are tapping into powerful currents of visceral emotion. By using war and combat imagery, we are not merely offering persuasive rhetoric, but we are appealing at a visceral level to a deep need for aggression that is latent in all us and part of the biological memory of our species. It is not surprising or unexpected that there are those who would take the metaphor literally, because the distance from violent language to violent action is not all that great.
The vast majority of us would not do so, but there are those who are disturbed or unbalanced who could well do so. Now no one has responsibility for this assassination attempt and mass murder except for Jared Lee Loughner. But what we say and do influences others, both directly and indirectly. Whatever Loughner’s particular motivations, it is unlikely that he would have acted in this way without living in a culture of violence, including violent language and symbolism.
Whether or not Loughner listened to particular radio shows, belonged to specific groups, or was conservative or liberal is not the most important factor here. What matters is that the language we use sets a tone that affects the behavior of others, especially the mentally ill and disturbed. Those of us who speak and write in public venues have a great responsibility because others are watching us and following us. Gabby Giffords understood the violent context in which she worked and many (including her) have rightly noted that “words have consequences.” Indeed they do, because they are not “merely” words, but images and symbols that connect to primal, archetypal emotions.
It is not a question of assigning blame to the right or left or to any group, but rather of understanding the context in which our politics take place. There is a sense that it is legitimate to dehumanize others by using violent metaphors about them. Those on all sides of the political spectrum have done this. We don’t need to aggravate the hostile climate further by focusing on individuals who have made poor use of language and imagery, but we simply must ask them to stop doing it.
Let’s find other words and symbolism to express our anger and frustration.
As we see today in Tucson with the attempted assassination of a congresswoman (Gabrielle Giffords), plus the shootings and murders of many bystanders, violent imagery and language can set the context for real-life horror. Whatever your political point of view (center, right, left, independent), let us please pledge ourselves to civility, humanity, and mutual respect.
Pima County (Arizona, Tucson) Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, says it powerfully:
“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately Arizona has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
“The vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business … This has not become the nice United States that most of us grew up in.”
Please keep the victims and families in thought and prayer.
An excellent review. The internet is key medium of information and news exchange for coming decades. Corporate attempts to control the flow will limit freedom and transparency. Government regulations have their limitations and dangers, but the power of corporate control is much more harmful and pernicious. (Via Gary Yarus)
We often think of comedy and satire as letting off steam or entertainment. However, a brilliant comedian can use them and his laugh pulpit to shame those who would deny our commitment to the suffering heroes of September 11, 2001, and to push the government to honor its promise to those who protect and defend our nation.
The decline of educational quality in the US is part of the reason for this.
The other is cheap labor in developing countries. Corporations are able to take advantage of this labor without suffering financial consequences in the US. However, corporations should contribute sufficiently to the national community that makes it possible for them to exist and thrive. Otherwise we will not be able to maintain our standard of living and quality of life.
The rise of transnational actors like multinational corporations and the decline of the power of nation states has negative consequences such as this, but it also promises new kinds of structures through which humans will govern themselves. Corporations have their own interests, and communities have theirs. Just as corporations protect themselves, communities will have to do the same. Corporations are driven by economic goals, but communities have moral concerns. This divergence in interest will inevitably force communities to find others ways of asserting themselves, as national governments find themselves unable to act. These communities may exist as places, but they may also form as virtual entities. Instead of looking at a global map with nations, we may be beginning to see the emergence of another kind of map with different governing entities.
For those frustrated with politics and bad news, take a look at this video. It shows the general trend of the world toward healthier and more prosperous societies. Countries are converging, and the world is improving. Thanks to Nelson French for this video!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo
From Dianne Bazell: A Jewish family celebration.
Ex 13:19: Just as Moses carried the bones of Joseph out of Egypt, we all carry our ancestors with us wherever we go.
Because of the anthropomorphic connotations of the English words, “God” and “Lord,” because of the human tendency to use “God” as a thing or object (thereby objectifying “God”), and because of their inherently gendered meanings (”Lord” as opposed to “Lady” and “God” as opposed to “Goddess”), these words have too much baggage to use in current translations of the Hebrew Bible. Therefore, I often replace “God” with “THE ALL” and “LORD GOD” with “ALL THAT IS.” For “LORD,” I simply use “SOURCE.” This will no doubt prove strange for many readers, but de-familiarization is part of the process of reacquainting oneself with the deeper meanings of the biblical text. These translations also have the advantage of preserving the actual significance of the Hebrew words which have become ossified in English (and other modern languages) translations and consequently lost their original meanings.
YHWH comes from the Hebrew word, “to be” (hayah), and is explicitly associated with being, becoming, existence, etc. By using a verb to describe the Divine, early Jewish writers imply that the Divine is fundamentally not an object or a thing, but rather that it is relational in nature. One might describe it as “energy,” because it is a force, not an object. The English word, “Lord,” reflects the Hebrew vowel pointing of YHWH as adonai (a – o – ai), used by Jews from antiquity to the present day to avoid saying the Divine name. There are other circumlocutions used by Jews to avoid saying the Divine name: e.g. “the name” ( hashem) and “the place” (hamaqom). By using “SOURCE” or “ALL THAT IS,” I maintain the original meaning of the word without using the Divine name.
Elohim is the word that normally translates “God” (from El, the chief deity of the Ugaritic pantheon), but it is a plural form that naturally implies a multiplicity of deities. In the Hebrew Bible, it normally indicates the deity of the Jewish people: the One God, the Eternal. Occasionally it directly indicates more than one god (such as in Genesis 1:26 and 3:22), but even there the notion of oneness persists. As a plural form, Elohim suggests that one cannot limit the Divine to a single thing (which a singular form would connote) and actually implies that the Divine is so all-encompassing that no thing falls outside of its compass. Elohim means unity. From a metaphorical perspective, one might see the Divine as a choir rather than a soloist; here the many become one. This is why the term, “monotheism” (which implies singularity rather than oneness or unity) is inadequate for describing the Jewish and Christian concepts of Divinity. “THE ALL” preserves the all-encompassing character, relationality, unity, and oneness of the Divine.
See how I do this in “translations of Genesis by larry” in “about mystic scholar”: http://mysticscholar.org/about-mystic-scholar/translations-of-genesis-by-larry/
Each of our lives is a sacred story. Learn how to tell it so that others may learn.
I am because you are.
We live each of our lives not only for ourselves but to teach others.
The world does not need a revolution, but it needs leaders who can respond to the revolution that is already happening.
When old institutions die, new ones are born.
Our destiny is not destruction, chaos, and an end, but wholeness, hope, and a future (an interpretation of Jer 29.11).
Wisdom involves the heart and mind joined as two tributaries flowing into a great river.
Wisdom takes time and energy. It does not happen according to schedule.
We all wear masks, but that’s not who we are. What do masks do? They help us to explore alternative realities.
Each of our lives is a new story to add to the book of Genesis.
Gen 1.1: “The Source (God) began to create”: As long as the universe exists, creation is a process that rests periodically, but never ends.
The Source rests from creation every shabbat. So should we. Then, on the next day, we join hands to continue creation (Gen 2.3).
Did you ever notice that the Source explicitly expelled Adam, not the woman, from the garden of Eden?
One key to authentic leadership is being open about your imperfections without belittling yourself.
Gen 1:27: The first Adam was both female and male, bi-gendered, whole, integrated, one.
Creation rests on Shabbat, but recommences the next day.
Do nothing for a period of time. Then you will be able to do something worthwhile and begin to understand Shabbat.
Wisdom: Knowing whom, what, where, when, how.
Who are the Temple priests? Those who light the Temple menorah. The only way to drive out darkness is with light. (Num 8.1-3)
Our legacy is not money, power, buildings, or books, but rather the core energy that we release from ourselves into the universe.
Conformity means a bunch of individuals forming a collective ego, an I. Community means a bunch of individuals building a whole that transcends the individual “I”s (egos) and creates a collective higher self.
We all need to rest, and so does the earth. That’s why we have shabbat and why the earth has a sabbatical year.
Learning from experience leads to wisdom.
Lev 19:18: “Love your neighbor as yourself” actually reads in Hebrew: “You shall show love to your neighbor as you would (show it to) yourself.” In other words, love is not simply a feeling state, but also an act of doing.
Ironically, when we let go of our I, we feel a deep connection to others and understand Lev 19.18: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
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