Love. And Stand the HELL up.

IMG_5143“Love thy neighbor.” That is the foundation of Christianity. When Jesus asked a young man what is the most important teaching, the man replied “Love God, and love thy neighbor as thy self.” And Jesus told the young man that he was not far from heaven. This is Jesus’s primary teaching. “Love one another.” He also said over and over, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” “He who has no sin, throw the first stone.”

Now I know I am far from perfect. However, I am about to throw some reality. Let’s apply Jesus’ teachings as i just mentioned to what is happening currently. Do white supremacist love their neighbor? No. And it is pretty damn obvious considering they–themselves–proudly scream and wave their myriad of assault weapons in gatherings of hatred directed at everyone who is not included their tiny dense (as in ignorant and moronic) box who they as white supremacists have judged to deserve death, destruction or exile. Most of these hate-filled people identity directly with Nazis, who kill their neighbors, after torturing them and stealing everything they own. Do we need to hate and kill Nazis. No. Should they have the right to take over a neighborhood, a town, a state, a country in the name of hatred, racism and violence? Hell, no!

Everyone standing up for good and for human rights (which all people deserve) need to rip to shreds every tiny iota of the propagandized lie and any other excuses violent hate groups and white supremacist bigots use to condone their evil behavior. And white supremacists are in mutual agreement with one another acting together for evil, initiating evil, and the evil of deliberately causing death and harm as a consequence of evil mob mentally and violent actions. As a Christian we have the difficult task of loving thy neighbor anyway. Does it mean we allow Nazis and other violent hate groups like ISIS or whatever attack and kill others–especially on American soil? Hell no! Love requires some backbone folks. You are on the wrong side of LOVE if you think being passive and silent or making fun of protesters who deliberating put their bodies in harm’s way for the benefit of those who are being hated and terrorized to say “Hell, no! You will not terrorize us or anyone!!!”

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Let’s get specific. If “you” are the one initiating more hate through indifference or by way of thinking it’s perfectly okay that white supremacy exists and you are giving them normality in this country; if you think it is okay to be on the sidelines snarling about protestors and being offended by the removal of stupid inanimate statues, offended by these objects created specifically to glorify slavery and white supremacy being dismantled or even torn down, you are a deluded buttkissing rascist hypocrite–if you also identify with being Christian. If you aren’t a Christian, or a religious person who has a doctrine of peace or you are just a human being with no regard for anyone else–then I have nothing to say except shame on you for being part of the “hate” problem if that’s where you stand. People are not merely offended by the statues of Confederate Soldiers or Generals and the like. They rather are tired to the bones of all those who have been destroyed and oppressed by way of the ongoing old white supremacist indoctrination that watches from these intentional memorials of intimidation to remind others of that reign of oppression. That battle was already fought and won. It was not won by the confederates. Confederate statues are memorials put up to honor the ideology of white supremacy. That’s is a fact of why they are there. They were paid for from the pockets of those with a white supremacist agenda. There is plenty of documentation of who it was that made sure these banners kept flying. If it was about the civil war, the memorials would be Union officers and soldiers. You don’t honor losers of a war, unless you are trying to perpetuate that war. So yes, maybe most of us white southerners do not look at these statues and see the ulterior motives to why they are there. But we, white southerners, aren’t the ones being threatened are we? And if we do know why these statutes exists, it’s to say “Remember what happens to those who stand up to the power of racism. Do you want a cross burning in your front yard?”

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Bring it on. i grew up seeing that vile hatred. I know it when i see it. I choose to love the hard way. Hate groups need to be extinguished. We can do that by protesting, by standing up together, by running them out of the temple with a whip if we have too. Keep it non-violent and legal. Do it like Martin Luther King. But do not let anyone else die from this stupid persistent disease of greed for power and authority. It’s perfectly fine to be angry at this. This is righteous anger. But then we have to gather in our emotions, and transform anger into useful passions to turn our anger into positive action. Do we win by becoming hate ourselves? No. no one wins with hate. So stand up for others. Live and love fearlessly. And don’t put up with shit.

Love takes a mountain of courage. Hate is a coward that cherishes its own skin far too much to stand up alone. Hate is a selfish little pissant.

Get off the fence. You either love and stand up, or sit down and shut up. — Pamela Stansberry

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Please Don’t Kill All That Is Beautiful In The World

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What does beauty mean to you? What is it exactly?

Is beauty only a mirage–a fleeting visible image of the superficial, like an illusion? Is what we call beautiful only a shallow temporary experience of what pleases our physical senses? Or is what is truly beautiful a gift to our infinite being, something we visit that imprints indelibly on our soul, our character, making it richer and more expansive? A song that uplifts, a smile that enlightens, a hand reaching out to gently reassure us in encouragement and love, a shared spontaneous experience that makes us bust out laughing, a new born baby, a flock of birds swirling in graceful shapes against a sunlit blue sky–is beauty that indescribable breathtaking moment that makes us feel grateful for being alive? Isn’t that beauty? Is it an experience of a incredible moment, or an interaction that surprisingly arises in our mundane path, or something amazing we feel within the confines of a personal relationship that goes mysteriously far deeper than just a pretty dress on a fashion model, or a gilded framed peaceful landscape that matches our couch on our living room wall?

What is your idea of beauty?

Well, this is mine.

Beauty is like the picture above and what is behind the picture above–the story of what it is expresses or invokes the experience of beauty in what we see and what it all means, even when what it means is ineffable. In that deeper sense of what it means to me, there is something more to the experience than a 2-dimensional photograph.

The day I took this photograph, I was out hiking in the woods by a river and I stopped to watch several monarch butterflies at play. Sitting on purple iron weed in Autumn time, under a pristine blue sky next to a rolling river, I was entranced by a pair of perfect vibrant delicate orange and black wings that fluttered and flitted from place to place. It gave me a great deal of joy to watch this butterfly dance from flower to flower. My little butterfly friend even allowed me to touch it, and it sipped water off my fingertips.

But here’s the hard truth in comparison to this fleeting ephemeral image.

What is truly beautiful in this world we live in, like this monarch butterfly, is in real danger of going extinct. Just like the climate change has drastically affected the yearly monarch migration detrimentally, and heavy use of pesticides that have killed off vast numbers of these North American butterflies, potentially weakening future generations and their ability to thrive, there is a huge probability that to behold a monarch playing among the iron weed may indeed become a very rare sight. Once something is gone, there’s no bringing it back.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we, as human beings, are directly complicit and completely involved with the destruction of all the beauty on our planet. That is a sad and unpleasant fact. One we need to own up to and change. And I will not be so self-righteous as not to count myself in that lump of humanity. No one gets a pass. It is everyone’s responsibility, not just our “leaders”–spiritual, environmental, political or otherwise.

Just by going along with the way we do things in the modern age, we cause destruction to the planet and to each other. And yes, I love our modern conveniences, but not every convenience is necessary. Not every popular viewpoint or interior thought that comes to us with ease is beneficial. We can change the way we do things, as well the way we think–which is where what we say and do flows forth from–in a way that will have less harmful impact and more direct good. And we must think beyond ourselves. Selfishness, pettiness, greed, hatred and fear is the enemy at our gates. And we must beat it back interiorly within our own person. We must as a whole think of life on earth as interdependent, because it is actually and factually interdependent.

We breath because trees exists. Simply stated, trees exist because we and other animals exhale out what they need to live. But they can’t live if we chop them all down. And also, we can’t live if we chop them all down. The same holds true for the ocean. The ocean is our primary source of oxygen, but we are quickly killing off that symbiotic relationship too. When one part is out of balance, there is a cascade failure that causes catastrophic disaster. It’s like the process of organ failure in the human body. Each organ shuts down because each organ is dependent of the other organs to get what is needed to continue living. If our planet was a patient, it might already be in the ICU.

Humanity was never meant to be a plague on the earth. And the best of what humanity means in its highest idea would not be celebrating the way we treat each other either. I say that because there is so much violence and hostility in our current world, and, in particular, in America. What is wrong with us? Mob mentality is not higher thinking. It’s toxic death to everything beautiful and glorious about what we are as  human beings. Celebrate only what should be celebrated–goodness, compassion, wisdom and brilliant potential. Our habits of hate only cause harm, because hate begets hate. And love begets love. What do you want? Love or hate? Heaven or hell? And we all go there together, so chose wisely.

Because of our ability to reason, we were meant to be good custodians, caretakers and peacemakers, who ensure the positive cultivation and continuation of the indwelling natural abundance found within this miraculous planet of ours. But we aren’t doing that right now, are we?

Greed kills all. Hatred only causes destruction.

Of course, it is completely possible with a little extra consideration to educate one’s self so that we are individually able to make wiser, more comprehensive decisions on how to make better choices. And there is no excuse for not becoming a better person. Anyone can be compassionate if they want to be. It just takes effort. Becoming kinder wiser people not only makes our own life better, it makes life better for everyone.

You want a better world, be a better person.

Many people chose to live that way right now. And all of us have that capacity. I’d like to think we all care enough to be that person who makes a difference for good. But just how much do we really care about that? Is it far easier to sit and blame others, while placing all our responsibilities onto some political party, leader, employer or church affiliation? It might seem easier to go with the flow, stay silent, grumble and complain, spew hatred, incite violence, point fingers, but the end result is that things only get worse for everyone. No one else will do the work for us. We are either all in this thing called life to uplift, cultivate and protect the beauty in our glorious existence; or all that is inspiring and good gets eradicated systematically because of our own ignorance and apathy.

Very few things go extinct without our direct involvement with the destructive process. And the essential point I’m alluding to is that our involvement is not limited to the extinction of our splendid wonders of the world, our immaculate wildernesses really no longer exists in an untouched pristine manner. The wildernesses are already dying and so are the animals that live in them. Our oceans are full of garbage, spilt crude oil and radiation. Sea life is choking to death on our old cracked sippy cups, plastic forks and grocery bags.

And yes, this destruction of our beautiful environment is symbolic of our concern for life and each other. We are also directly involved with the denegration and destruction of our fellow human beings. Stepping on someone else’s back to feel superior or to take whatever we want is not acceptable behavior. Some of us do this intentionally–fully aware–driven by ignorance, hatred, anger, greed, and the hunger for power. And many of us do this each time we stay silent when we see injustice. Injustice is everyone’s problem. When irritable or angry, it is not our inalienable right to shove hatefulness and abuse at another person–despite what you may think. We become complicit when we don’t want to get involved with the struggle to uphold human rights and mutual respect for all.

Within our humanity, our divinity is waiting to be seen and acknowledged. Unfortunately, It doesn’t appear that many people think it’s important to make an effort presently. If we did, there would be no hatred, bigotry, inequality, starvation and war. Why are we allowing big industry to ruin our water systems and farm in ways that are toxic? Why do we eat that toxic food, when it sustains a greater problem? And don’t say because it cost less. Almost everyone in American has a big screen TV and a smart phone. If we wanted to spend money on more important things like healthy sustainable food sources, we would. But we just want our shiny stuff, don’t we. Why do we allow the deforestation of what’s left of our precious wildernesses? And why is there a garbage pile the size of Texas floating in our oceans?

Do we not care whether there is oxygen to breath? Do we not care about our children’s children?

We all have immense potential for good, regardless of our personal weaknesses or imperfections. The glorious state of human perfection is not possible because we have this crazy idea that perfection is what it is not. Perfect is not looking perfect. Perfect is not being unrealistically happy all the time by focusing only on external material things. Perfect does not equal wealthy, materially successful and powerful. Perfect is not the ability to do everything we do precisely in the correct way, without missing a beat. Perfect is not keeping your house immaculately clean. Perfect is not pretending you are superior to anyone else.

There is no such thing as human perfection. Our beauty is not judged by that ridiculous standard, like a beauty queen with a certain figure and a certain smile and perfectly straight teeth. The idea is absurd.

Beauty is far greater than restrictive ideas.

There is only a divine mystical perfection shrouded discretely behind the chaos of our unique experience as we think it is on the planet earth. The comprehensive perfection I speak of is that beyond our limited understanding, which is only glimpsed in the beauty of how all life is woven interdependently into seamlessness.

Humanity can kill or allow that beauty to be killed easily if we don’t all wake up.

Nothing is random. Everything that arises in our lives is a result of cause and effect. We  make choices, even when we refuse to make a choice. Refusing to make a choice is in fact a choice. And as I said, all life on the planet is interdependent. And it requires positive participation to keep that interdependence from taking us down the proverbial toilet. There is no us and them–no one to blame. There is only personal responsibility.

In our imperfect individual lives, we all are immensely beautiful in our own messy paradoxical existence. It is within the experience of our faults, weakness and imperfections that we are able to find mercy for others. But we have to seek truth. And we have to want to become merciful. Mercy doesn’t come automatically. Compassion is something we must work on developing. Not everything is warm and fuzzy.

Mercy is beautiful. Compassion is beautiful. Love is always beautiful. Wisdom is supremely beautiful. Nurture those virtues. Do not distain them or ignore them into oblivion.

With that said, yes, it is entirely possible to snuff out the beauty that gives life joy. It is also possible to repress or oppress all that is splendid, compassionate and awe-inspiring to the degree that we all will suffer such great atrocities and planetary disasters that our joy will only return on the wings of future generations, if we give them a planet to live on.

Do we allow beauty to be destroyed? Do we actively participate in destroying everything that is beautiful in the world?

That is a choice we all must make.

The choice to uphold beauty can be in the simplicity of a smile. It is in loving instead of hating. It is being accountable for what we think, say and do. What is our intention? Do we actually want to harm others? And if so, why would we ever think that way? We must learn to work things out compassionately and wisely by listening and learning from each other. There are no easy answers, but if we value what is truly beautiful we have a personal responsibility. If we treasure loving family, healthy relationships, a livable planet where our children can exist without chronic impending catastrophe or unilateral despair, the majestic wildernesses, clean water, land that grows food, the eagle soaring, honey bees, the great blue ocean, the air we breath, the ability to have freedom on this earth to live in peace, monarch butterflies flitting on wildflowers–then we must think, speak and act accordingly.

Give beauty a chance to thrive. It’s specifically up to you.

 

Why do we hate?

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The reason we hate is not because we fear what we don’t know. Racism and discrimination is always excused as a “fear.” It’s not fear as such, but it certainly can be a subtle tingle of terror felt in our guts telling us we are a part of the problem. We all have ignorance. We all have expansive unknown territories in which “we do not know.” Yet there is a larger, more destructive egotistical ignorance that we blatantly recognize within ourselves and feel the particular wrongness of it, and then we embrace this hate-filled ignorance anyway. Why do we do that?
The ignorance of this hatred, this evil, that persistently doesn’t seem to want to go away, is merely an individual problem with individual people that becomes a communal world problem; because we bring everything we are together for better or worse. We bring the joy of love or we bring the misery of hate. There is no “us” and “them,” but we divide ourselves from what saves us every day, in every moment, when we stand against what we know to be compassionate.

Within humanity there is only humanity. The divinity within humanity is humanity understanding the brilliance of the true human experience. Living egotistically is not the brilliance of the true human experience.

Selfish petty motives repeated in dull cycles of unconscious, unthinking, uncaring patterns are based in numb, meaningless survival, distortion, delusion and ingrained misinformation. Such a life is lived mindlessly going along with whimsical notions and reactions that are not helpful to anyone. If the negative patterns of thinking never change, the unhappy shallow way of life never changes. But people can become comfortable with misery when it’s all they know. Such is the nature of ignorance. Life is more than survival. Life is meant to be meaningful, but that is a choice we each have to make.

Even wild animals seem to know how to work together as a group better than humans to protect themselves from extinction. Could it be that human beings are the only species that will stare straight into the cataclysmic end of times caused as a result of our own bad behavior, and still stubbornly continuously refuse to learn or accept responsibilities for that unpleasant and unnecessary end result? “If I don’t get my way, I’ll make everyone suffer.” Isn’t that how it goes? Common sense demonstrates how benevolent behavior as a group leads to better living situations for everyone. Yet we continue to be problematic. The ego always screams like a child, “I want what I want when I want it, and I don’t care about anybody else!” We cannot continue to live like spoiled egotistical mean children, cruelly pulling the wings off butterflies, having tantrums to get what we want without thought or care about cause and effect. The ego doesn’t want to be challenged, but it must be regardless. And there’s our struggle, challenging the personal ego. Face the rotten little destructive demon within, and make your peace.

The reason we hate is because we are in the habit of hating. In the moment, it’s much easier to hate someone else, to blame someone else, than to make a personal effort to change the ingrained habitual negative thought patterns within our own mind. It’s easier to hate than to sort out the emotional dysfunction in our own hearts that makes us fearful and reactive to whatever sensations we “feel” within us. It’s easier to hate than to make an effort to work out our own ignorant ideas of who we are and what’s going on in the world; and decide to learn how to be kinder, wiser people who are willing and able to find positive solutions.

Do we suffer from the fear of fear—the fear of facing the darkness within our own person?

The glorification of ego, as “self,” has always been the modern way that will inevitably cause humanity to self-destruct—a preventable end to existence as we know it.

The obvious solution is finding compassion within our own mind and heart, while seeking to live altruistically to the best of our capacity. We, as individuals, can heal the world of all hatred and war in small mundane ways that no one might think significant at all.

Racism, among other hateful things, would no longer exist.

What we think, say and do is significant.

What we all “are” is significant, unilaterally so.

And, this is what is truly good within the world of people.

“Love one another.”

Smile. Let your heart open.

Forgive and shake hands.

It’s the only way.

On the Brink

We’re at a crest–the brink–do we, humanity, choose to stop reacting, pitching emotional tantrums, and spewing hostility and violence; or do we begin to look to our own thoughts, words and actions and fully acknowledge the personal responsibility to be a benevolent force of good in the world?

Emergency responders–respond. They don’t react. An emergency responder trains his or herself to help in the most effective way. We must respond in that degree. We must be heroes.

One must make an ongoing determined effort to rein in our own bad behavior, which always stems from reactivity. Staying in our ignorance and remaining apathetic in our negative reactive patterns is in fact a choice.

We are not helplessly a slave-I repeat–NOT a slave–to the unreasonable whims of our unexamined emotions and untamed mind. If we do nothing to raise our view in order to become more compassionate, conscientious and wisely aware, then we, as an individual, are completely and knowingly complicit in the degradation of life as we know it.

 

Sadness for Our Babies…

President Obama is giving his thoughtful address to the public right now. And I haven’t been able to stop crying since this morning when I flipped on the TV. Like so many others I suspect, this massacre hits us hard and close to home. The victims were just babies. And as it strikes me in the heart so violently, the shooter is a young 20 year old that is representative of a horrible problem in America and in the world.

So here I am writing on an iPhone, trying to express my own sadness. My tears are for innocent children lost. My tears are for parents , sisters, brothers, grandparents, family and community of those killed in Newtown. I can only offer my intense prayers and most profound condolences to all touched by this atrocity.

I agree that this is not the time for more hatred, words of anger and blame, but a time for prayers, grieving and honor shown towards those who have lost their precious beautiful lives. Emotions are high which gives rise to angry outbursts, but that is not what is needed now. What we need is to speak with love and compassion in memory of the dead.

In regard to the situation, I feel strongly the escalation of such heinous violence is systemic. It can only be solved by all people in all nations by taking note and endeavoring to become more conscious of the power of our own thoughts, words and actions. Violence begets violence. Hatred begets more hatred. And blame isn’t going to fix anything. Dedication to a more peaceful, non-violent way of life is the only cure and it is all of our personal responsibility. No one will do this for us. It has to be a mentality and a discipline that we live by and teach our children. We teach our children by the way we speak and act, as well as the choices we make for ourselves and our families.

And all children are our children. Let us love them and treat them with dignity. Let us endeavor to become kinder, wiser, ethical, honest and compassionate so we can teach our lovely children to do the same.

This is less about guns and more about what we allow in our society. Being human is difficult but it is an opportunity to expand our hearts and minds-to be more than just an animal living in primitive fight or flight, survival of the fittest. We do have to stand up to corruption and evil, but we need to make sure we do so in a manner that does not make us complicit in the problem at hand. I see no logical need for assault rifles. I see that making sure mentally ill and dangerous people should not have easy access to guns. That is logic. But what about non-stop violent entertainment we feed to our children who are too young to understand such inappropriate use of violence as a form of entertainment. Does that not seem problematic?

I don’t mean to preach. But I am tired of these killings. I’m tired of so many people shrugging it off as an isolated incident. This problem is everywhere. We are literally breeding contempt. Boundaries are part of teaching children. No means no. No means we can not say “no” yet be contrary to what virtues we are tiring to instill in our younger generation.

Please forgive my rambling. It is not my place to judge. But I will use my voice and words to express my dismay, hoping we will all come together-all humankind-to prevent a future of mass preventable suffering.

May love guide us all. May we forgive and teach forgiveness. And may acts of horrendous violence become extinct.

Again, my deepest sympathy and ongoing prayers to all directly affected by this sad event.