Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Messenger of God

My days now hang in a period silent uncertainty. I wake up, overwhelmed by egoic forces. It usually takes a couple of deep breaths and a half-hour of meditation before I am my Self again. From there, it's all good.

But as I try to live in each moment as if it were the only one in eternity, I find myself constantly faced with the question, "What is it that I'm supposed to be doing."

"BE," is the response I hear in my heart.

It sounds deceptively easy, but in a world where sights and sounds and sensations fly every which way around us, and egoic desires tempting me to "do this" and "accomplish that," to simply BE feels like a Herculean task. But I never feel as complete as when I relax into total "I AM-NESS," so there must be truth to it.

Then I start to this all just a playground for the Divine? Does God not really know what It is? Is the Universe incomplete without me? Is the whole purpose of my existence to (A). Remember that I am a part of God and (B). Allow God to experience what It is through the lens of my own indiduial consciousness?

It puts a new meaning on the phrase "messenger of God. " It's not about God giving messages to humankind, but humankind sending messages BACK to God, allowing God to learn what IT is, to see other parts of Itself. Perhaps the history of life on our planet is about the Universe itself trying to figure out just what the hell it is, trying to reach conscious awareness...but then again, the Universe would already have to be conscious in order to have that kind of agenda, right? I mean, if the Universe lacked self-awareness to begin with, how could it be aware enough to try to DEVELOP awareness through life?

You know what? I have no idea. I seriously I have no idea. But I guess we'll all find out soon enough.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

"Stranger in a Strangeland" and the nature of God

Just finished reading Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strangeland. I read it when I was in high school and thought, "Meh..." This time, I thoroughly enjoyed every page. It spoke so much to where I'm at right now. I've started using "grok" in my sentences (such a great word), and the mantra, "Thou art God" has become a personal favorite.

Here's a great quote from the book, as spoken by one of the characters who is a Muslim:

"...I am still God's slave, submissive to His will...and nevertheless can say: 'Thou art God, I am God, all that groks is God.' The Prophet never asserted that he was the last of all prophets nor did he claim to have said all there was to say. Submission to God's will is not to be a robot, incapable of choice, and thus of sin. Submission can include--does include--utter responsibility for the fashion in which I, and each of us, shape the universe. It is ours to turn into a heavenly garden...or to rend and destroy...'with God all things are possible,' if I may borrow--except the Impossible. God cannot escape Himself, he cannot abdicate His own total responsibility--He forever must remain submissive to His own will. Islam remains--He cannot pass the buck. It is His--mine...yours..."

Perhaps we sometimes DON'T want to be responsible for our own actions. Perhaps it's easier to think that there is someone showing us the way, something external to us that knows more than we do and who'll bail us out when we get into trouble.

But for me, that God is becoming a distant dream. God, to me, is not so much a divine being, but a divine principle. It is the Force by which everything moves. It is the... I AM-NESS. It is the unspeakable, the unknowable, for even the power by which we speak and know comes from It, and in that sense, yes, we ARE the children of God.

We make our own destiny. Nobody is up there, showing us the way. We ARE the Way, the Truth and the Life. We are the goal that St. Paul was running for, the heavenly prize. Praise be to God, means praise be to all of us and everything that ever was, is, and shall be.

The true challenge of living on this planet, I believe, is found in recognizing that our conception of God as a being is a product of our own mind, a projecting of ourselves. Inside that place called the mind is the Source, where all thought springs from. Our identity lies in the Source, the silent watcher. When we are in this place...this is when we have for a moment found enlightenment, been granted gnosis, achieved yoga, become God.

The next challenge is, upon arriving there, not leaving it ever again.

China, karma and the future of humanity

For weeks, I've debated the wisdom of putting up this post, but when I saw this article in the New York Times, I felt compelled to write it.

On February 10th of this year, almost a month before this article came out, I had this weirdly vivid dream that I was sitting at my computer, going through my e-mail, and I saw I had a message from I opened it and read the following words:

"In the year 2024, China and its allies will invade the United States."

I stared at the screen in horror, feeling the weight of inevitability in those words...somewhere, deep down within, I felt their truth. I called out to my friend, who was in the next room, to come take a look, and as I was about to tell him about it, I woke up.

I was shaken, to say the least. I wrote the dream down and tried to forget about it. Surely it was no different from any other dream I've had, as vivid as it seemed--although I have had my share of visions, but that's another story. 10 days later, I got overwhelmed by curiosity and started to do some, albeit brief, research. Here's what I found...

1. An article about China's rise to "super powerdom."

2. An article about a growing alliance between China, Russia and Iran.

3. An article about the U.S. preparing for airstrikes against Iran, which it can do as early as this spring...

4. A disturbing opinion piece from the Asia Times about what a war-scenario between the U.S. and the "China-Russia-Iran" axis would look like...

There's ton of info on the web about this topic, as well as some mysticism sites that believe that a war with China is actually prophesied in the Bible. I've refrained from listing them, as they tend to be a little on the uncomfortably fanactical side, but a Google search on the key words "China" and "prophecy" will turn them up for anyone inclined to take a look.

It obviously doesn't take a dream or some mystical vision to see that a conflict between our country and the countries of the East feels inevitable. More than anything, it's awakened me to how unstable the world situation really is, and how comfortable we Americans have become within our borders, laboring under the illusion that as long as we keep to ourselves, we should be relatively okay, that we'll be able to live out our lives unmolested, aside from the occasional mishaps that characterize our existence.

History has proven that the state of affairs in ANY country can change over night, especially when it comes to an empire. I honestly don't know what is going to happen in the next 20 years. But I do know that the universal law of cause and effect is a constant, and that individuals, as well as, countries MUST reap what they sow. I won't waste my breath condeming U.S. domestic and foreign policy--I've done enough of that in my earlier posts--but I will say that if the rest of the world suddenly decides that they're tired of us acting like the unilateral god-emperors of the Earth and decide to give us a taste of our own medicine, whether it be economically or militarily, I will certainly not be surprised.

When I told a friend about my dream and my thoughts on it, he asked what was to be done then, if such a thing were true...if our country could indeed be invaded within the next generation. I replied, "Repent." And I don't mean repentance in terms of beating one's breast and begging some personal God for forgiveness, joining a religion and all that. What I mean is the word as found in the Hebrew Bible shuv which means "turn back."

In other words, cease our war-mongering, turn around and head the other way, the way of peacemaking, not with guns in our hands, but olive branches. America has the potential to be a force for supreme good in this world, if it only decided to stop putting its interests above the interests of others. We could easily serve as an inspiration to the world if we, the veritable Roman Empire of the 21st century, finally laid down our arms and recognized our common bond with all humanity.

Imagine if we disarmed all our nuclear weapons, disbanded our military and simply said, "No more. No more will we spill the blood of others. No more will we use fear and aggression to manifest our will. We wish to finally, FINALLY, make peace with all of you, once and for all, and we welcome the help of anyone who feels likewise."

Can you imagine SHOCKED everybody would be? We would totally throw everybody off guard. No doubt, some would, and with good reason, suspect our motives, thinking we were up to something. But if we actually followed up all our rhetoric with deeds to match, the sincerity of our transformation couldn't be denied

In all honesty, I'm very pessimistic about such a thing happening. But I still hope and pray that it does and that my dream, whether it was a vision or the repressed fears of my unconscious, does not come to pass.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

More on Obama

Here's a great article from about Barack Obama.

It articulates a lot of my reservations for joining his campaign, but it illustrates why he is such an interesting figure in American politics.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Audacity of Doubt

I just finished reading Senator Barack Obama's lastest book "The Audactiy of Hope," in which Mr. Obama relates stories from his first term in the U.S. Senate, as well as examines some of the most pressing problems facing America today and how we might go about taking the first steps towards viable solutions. Topics include the Iraq war, unemployment, race, education and the energy crisis, just to name a few...

I felt inclined to read the book for a variety reasons, the foremost being I believe Senator Obama will continue to be an interesting and important figure in American politics (especially now with the recent announcement of his bid for the presidency), and so getting a look into the man's mind seemed prudent. Also, I feel a lot of excitement among my peers in regards to him: I think many liberal Democrats of my generation look at Obama as a possible American messiah, somebody who can finally lead us out of the neo-conservative stranglehold that has gripped our nation since Bush took office and who will restore some semblance of stability within our borders and throughout the world. I would be dishonest if I tried to pretend that I wasn't somewhat hopeful when this guy first appeared on the scene. I'd also had a dream where a friend had approached me, holding the book out to me, asking that I read it so that we could finally engage in a discussion where I wasn't just on the listening end, intermittently saying, "Hmm...well, I honestly don't know that much about him, so I guess I should read his book."

Well...I've read the book.

I came away from it with a renewed respect and admiration for Mr. Obama. I think he's a great writer, and he's got a lot of good ideas: his chapters on "Opportunity", "Faith," "Race" and "Family" stand out in my mind as being particularly impactful. If I was going to vote, I'd vote for him.

But the final reason that I decided to read the book was because I feel myself being drawn to anarchism...if that wasn't already obvious from earlier postings. And before I made the big plunge and submerged myself into anarchist texts, I thought maybe reading the book might change my mind. Perhaps Barack Obama could convince me that government is actually a good thing. Oddly, enough, I was very fearful that my mind in fact would be changed, because after having given myself the permission to consider anarchism as a way of life and doing some preliminary readings, I was finding that I really liked it. A LOT.

The book hasn't changed my mind. It gave me doubts, for sure, but my mind remains the same. What it did, however, was make me less angry and less distrustful of the government...sorta. There are good people in the system, who really do want to make the world a better place, and though I may disagree with the way they're going about it, we all ultimately want the same thing...and they are still my brothers and sisters, loved by our Father as much as I am.

So perhaps reading the book allowed me to make some sort of peace with my siblings working through Caesar in order to effect change. Kinda like the first time you hang out with your ex after you've broken up...things are still going to be a little weird for a while, but you know that deep down, ya still love 'em.

A little more as to why I'm drifing towards anarchism...

Mr. Obama goes to great lengths to extol the virtues of American society and government. To his his ENORMOUS credit, he doesn't shy away from America's bloody track record of racism, classism, international government toppling, imperialism, etc. He throws it all out there as our "less than prouder moments." But in principle, he believes that the American government can be truly functional, altruistic and beneficial to ALL of its citizens and to people of other nations.

My issue is not so much Mr. Obama's take on what role our government should play in the future; on the contrary, if I still believed in government, I'd probably want him leading us. But it's not that I don't want him leading us. It's that I don't want ANYONE leading us. And it is here that my mystical nature begins to assert itself.

In truth, a law is only as powerful as the punishment that it promises to exact upon anyone who disobeys it as well as the frequency at which those punishments are meted out, whether it's extortion (a.k.a. "fines"), imprisonment or death. In other words, the power and LEGITMACY of a government rests soley on its ability to inflict violence on its citizens. Every law has behind it the power of the gun to back it up. People are reasoned with by use of rifles, and morality rests in the mortar shell.

Some people may have no problem with this. The world is a dangerous place after all, and it the only way to defend ourselves against violence is to use violence in return. But I begin to wonder what kind of existence we've settled for where inflicting harm on others is necessary for our survival. To be sure, Nature is a living testament to the conflict that abides in our world. Things must die so that others may live. The rabbit runs from the hawk to save its life, and the hawk chases down the rabbit for nourishment so that IT may continue to live. Both are clearly in disagreement with one another...but who should die, the rabbit or the hawk?

As I see myself as not just a man, but a son of man, and more than that, a son of God, and more than that, a manifestation of the Father-Mother itself, eternal and complete, I witness before me a world that should not be despised or feared, but should be healed and forgiven, because the outside world is a part of myself. And I see only one Authority in the Universe: Love, the Source that dwells within me, who is my very Self.

So how can I accept a position that allows for rule of law by use of force, even if that force is protecting me from some "enemy"? Perhaps I do not hold my own life in high mortal body, perhaps. But my soul is Love, and with each passing day, I am not as afraid of dying as much as I am living a life ruled by fear.

Human beings are innately good. When left to our own devices, free to walk the earth in whatever direction we choose, I believe that we naturally come together and work toward the benefit of all, not just for purely sentimental reasons or reasons grounded solely in morality, but because we innately realize that EVERYONE benefits when EVERYONE is happy. When people become authoritative, telling us where we can and can't go, what we can and can't do and allows resources to be cut off from the majority and placed in the hands of the few, in other words, when POWER is exercised against free beings such as ourselves in order to keep us in subjection, THAT is when people become nasty and starting fighting back.

Violence begets violence. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. It is cause and effect, which is why the "war on terror" will never end...and even if we somehow managed to wipe every terrorist off the face of the earth and lethally inject every murderer in our midst, a new "enemy" would spring up, born out of the violence that we sent out into the world, even as our violence was born out of the violence inflicted upon us. As children of God, we are in a unique position to stop the cycle from continuing, to "transcend" karma, to break ourselves free of its bonds and not given into the temptation of vengeance, but rather to meet hate with love. It was these ideas that inspired Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi, and even Jesus as he prayed for the soldiers who nailed him to the cross: "Forgive them, Father. They don't know what they're doing."

We owe it to our brothers and sisters to remember who they are, even if they don't remember it themselves. ESPECIALLY when they don't.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Jesus on politics

"In the world the recognized rulers lord it over their subjects, and their great men make them feel the weight of their authority. That is not the way with you; among you, whoever wants to be great must be your servant...For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to surrender his life as a ransom for many."

Mark 10:42-45; Matt. 20:25-28

As I see it...

"We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism...Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children....

In short, we should do good instead of evil. Who would try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want to bomb us? That is the truth the American people need to hear."

Bishop Robert Bowman, former U.S.A.F. lieutenant colonel