It is the best of times; it is the worst of times!
Welcome to the November edition of the SatyaCenter newsletter. Warm greetings from your Editor Curtis Lang.
Spiritual guidance has warned us for many years that we are on the brink of dramatic global change.
Recall the prophesies of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Many proponents of the New Age expect the consciousness of humanity to be elevated as our energy ascends from a third-chakra emphasis on individuality and personal power to a fourth chakra heart-centered awareness based upon loving wisdom, compassion and mindful stewardship of the entire web of life.
Astrologer Robert Hand calculates the first star in Pisces to cross the vernal point at 111 BC, which would place the Age of Aquarius to begin near 2,060 AD. Others say the true date is 1997, or 2012, or 2160. No matter how you do the math, we are on the cusp of a New Age.
Check out the Mayan Calendar and the theories concerning the end of history as we know it in 2012. “On the winter solstice of 2012, the noonday Sun exactly conjuncts the crossing point of the sun's ecliptic with the galactic plane, while also closely conjuncting the exact the center of the galaxy,” according to the website “All About 2012”.
Researchers vary in their take on this cosmic watershed event. Some say we will ascend to a higher consciousness, others that the Earth will be ravaged by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and floods.
The shadow side of this epochal cultural shift can be seen in the dramatic fears of fundamentalist Christians and Moslems who expect Armageddon, apocalypse, global destruction and the return of the Chosen One, all in our own lifetimes.
Yet we are all haunted by a vague feeling that we are following a script that we have read before, that we are reliving a variation on ancient themes of epochal transition.
Are we about to re-enact the Atlantis catastrophe?
Will we engage in a global conflict as bloody and final as that of the Mahabharata, which marked the end of the Age of Warrior-Kings in Ancient India and Asia, and ushered in a new age, the Kali Yuga, the Iron Age in which we now live?
We are being haunted by the ghosts of karmas past and present, aware that our own mistakes, sins and omissions are about to blossom into a series of global crises, financial, political and environmental. For the time of transition is also the time of testing. Times of spiritual evolution are often times of cultural and political revolution. And revolutions tend to eat their own children. This we know from history.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only,” said Charles Dickens, describing the time of the tumultuous French revolution in his epic novel “A Tale of Two Cities”, published in 1812.
As for 21st century humanity, we seem to be watching a rerun of the story Charles Dickens had described in Paris in the eighteenth century.
Good news! It is the best of times! Despite well-justified fears of a stolen election, Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States in a landslide victory that is re-defining the image of our country and our people here at home and around the world.
We are entering a new era here in the United States. Our people and our country unleashed an eight year campaign of no-holds-barred global warfare based upon the tidal wave of fear generated on 9/11/2001. This month we have unleashed a tsunami of hope.
Bad news! It is the worst of times! America’s financial crisis is definitely not over, and it will be months before President-elect Obama and the new Democratic Congress can begin to put out the raging economic firestorm. Will they be too late to prevent a disaster?
Meanwhile, President-elect Obama has surrounded himself with a coterie of Washington insiders, ex-Wall Street tycoons, and hard-core hawkish warrior-politicians, creating a small cloud of doubt that threatens to overshadow the new dawn we hope to see on our national horizon.
It’s clear that the massive social movement that elected Barack Obama our new President must demand a restoration of Constitutional government, civil rights, Wall Street and banking reforms, help for middle class and working class families, a Green New Deal, cutbacks in America’s bloated defense budget, and an end to our foreign policy of Imperial conquest.
If we are to rise up and fulfill our full potential, if we are to achieve our Higher Purpose, we must be willing to stretch ourselves to new heights, to leave our comfort zone and enter a new land with no map or compass. We must find ways to get our leaders to listen, and to make the changes that most Americans know are essential to our future and the future of our children.
This is a lot to ask. I know that here at Satya Center it is very difficult to find the time to devote to our spiritual practices, to interact with our little virtual community, to manage our online store, to provide more assistance to our aging elders, to teach Reiki, to work on book projects and to search out new ways to be of service, including whatever forms of spiritual-political activism we find most compelling. Just writing it all down is enough to make me tired! It’s hard to maintain an active spiritual practice and also participate in community politics, national politics, or global political struggles. No doubt about that.
And yet we all know that we cannot place our futures in the hands of political leaders, corporations, celebrities and authority figures. So why not go to Avaaz.organd join the hundreds of thousands of people in 224 countries around the world who are sending personal messages to President-elect Obama, giving him fresh ideas, emotional and spiritual support, and much-needed positive energy?
“After 8 long years of Bush - a fresh start,” exult the organizers of Avaaz.org. “The world is seizing this historic and hopeful moment to send a flood of global messages to Obama. Our message and number of signers as well as the personal messages sent are displayed on a large wall in the centre of Washington D.C.
“Over the last 24 hours, the wall has hit the front pages of the Washington Post, USA Today and other leading newspapers in the US, alongside CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and other global media. A massive global response, this moment is redefining the future relationship between the US and the world -- let's get to a million!”
Go to Avaaz.organd send your message to Obama today!
Let this be a first hopeful step, dipping a toe into the waters of spiritual activism. Because it is only through an ongoing dialogue with our leaders that we can find a way to create a workable new social contract that leaves no one behind, protects the environment and prepares our children for life in the 21st century.
It is not enough to simply buy a hybrid car, buy local produce and give up frivolous vacations thousands of miles from home.
It is not enough to meditate and send positive energy to the grid around the Earth. It is not enough to join an organization dedicated to social justice, or environmental protection, or community development and write a check or fill out forms at a website to send to Congress.
It is not enough to go door to door in support of our favorite politician or cause. No, the universe asks much more of us than that.
We must learn to do both the inner work and the outer work. We must learn to participate in groups working on both the subtle levels and in the messy political arena.
We must attempt to elevate our consciousness and simultaneously maintain an acute awareness of current events and we must work actively to bring about positive change – political change, social change, and a change in consciousness.
The universe asks us to reach out to our brothers and sisters in our neighborhood, our country, and around the world, to unite our efforts with those of a community of like-minded people, in a strenuous and sustained effort to create a new society based upon caring co-operation, social justice and environmental stewardship.
This is what the Spirit of the Times, the zeitgeist, demands from us. This is what our karma demands of us. This is what our planet demands of us. This is what our Spiritual Guides and Teachers hope for us. Their hope is our promised land, and our hope is the thread we follow to reach our highest spiritual goals.
This is no trivial matter. Just ask Van Jones. Van Jones is founding president of “Green For All” and a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress. He is also the author of “The Green Collar Economy”. “Green For All” is a U.S. organization that promotes green-collar jobs and opportunities for the disadvantaged. Its mission is to build an inclusive, green economy - strong enough to resolve the ecological crisis and lift millions of people out of poverty.
“Bringing people of different races and classes and backgrounds together under a single banner is tougher than it sounds,” says Van. “I have been trying to bridge this divide for nearly a decade. And I learned a few things along the way.”
“What I found is that leaders from impoverished areas like Oakland, California, tended to focus on three areas: social justice, political solutions and social change,” Van Jones explains. “They cared primarily about ‘the people.’ They focused their efforts on fixing schools, improving healthcare, defending civil rights and reducing the prison population. Their ‘social change’ work involved lobbying, campaigning and protesting. They were wary of businesses; instead, they turned to the political system and government to help solve the problems of the community.”
“The leaders I met from affluent places like MarinCounty (just north of San Francisco), San Francisco and Silicon Valley had what seemed to be the opposite approach. Their three focus areas were ecology, business solutions and ‘inner change,’ Van reports. “They were champions of ‘the planet’ -- rainforests and important species like whales and polar bears. Many were dedicated to inner-change work, including meditation and yoga. And they put a great deal of stress on making wise, earth-honoring consumer choices. In fact, many were either green entrepreneurs or investors in eco-friendly businesses.”
“Every effort I made to get the two groups together initially was a disaster -- sometimes ending in tears, anger and slammed doors. Trying to make sense of the differences, I wrote out three binaries on a napkin:
1. Ecology vs. Social Justice
2. Business Solutions (Entrepreneurship) vs. Political Solutions (Activism)
3. Spiritual/Inner Change vs. Social/Outer Change
“People on both sides of the equation tended to think that their preferences precluded any serious consideration of the options presented on the opposite side,” Van reports. ”Increasingly, I saw the value and importance of both approaches. I thought, What would we have if we replaced those ‘versus’ symbols with ‘plus’ signs? What if we built a movement at the intersection of the ecology and social justice movements, of entrepreneurship and activism, of inner change and social change? What if we didn't just have hybrid cars -- what if we had a hybrid movement?”
Well, can we do something that difficult? Can we combine spirit and politics without succumbing to the well-known evils of priestly political castes the world over? Van Jones says, “Yes, we can!”
Visit Green for All to find out more about how you can join the social movement to create a Green New Deal that will create millions of jobs, save the environment and forge new bonds of trust and co-operation between inner cities and suburbs, between meditators and community organizers, and between the winners and losers in today’s hyper-competitive economic free-for-all.
To understand more fully the challenges and the rewards of spiritual activism, let us attend to the work and words of Rev. John Dear.
John Dear is a Jesuit priest, peace activist, and the author of more than 20 books. He has served as the director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and after 9/11, as a coordinator of chaplains for the Red Cross at the New York Family Assistance Center. He has traveled the war zones of the world, been arrested 75 times for peace activism, and given thousands of lectures on peace across the country. He lives in New Mexico, and was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. For information about his books, articles and speaking schedule, see his website.
Rev. Dear spoke about the recent American election and how all those involved in electing Barack Obama need to continue to work in a movement that will fight for financial democracy, middle class homeowners, inner city families, environmental protection, and social justice. That movement is what can empower the American people to be the change we want to see!
“I hope that the energy that the election unleashed among young people, and people across all walks of life, indeed people around the world, will lead everyone to work for disarmament and justice for the rest of their lives,” says Rev. Dear. “It's vitally important that those who got involved in the campaign for political change stay involved in the lifelong struggle for global change. Therein lies our true hope.”
“Which is why, when asked about my hopes for President-elect Obama, I confessed that I don't place my hope in any regime or administration or government,” Rev. Dear continues.“I want us to pursue the frontiers of Gospel hope. So I place my hope in the God of peace, the nonviolent Jesus, and the Spirit of active nonviolence. It's the Holy Spirit that pushes us to side with the poor, to create social justice, disarm our weapons and protect creation. This work is the work of a lifetime, the work of God, the work of all of us, and we need the Creator, the Christ, the Spirit, to lead us in creating a new world of peace.”
“Can we in this new moment, this new opening, work even harder for that new world without war, poverty, nuclear weapons and global warming?” asks Rev. Dear. “Can we each do our part to carry on Jesus' work of proclaiming God's reign? Can we help the church become that Gospel community of audacious peacemaking, welcoming love, boundless compassion, disarming forgiveness, and social justice? Can we give our lives for that vision, that hope, that Gospel call, and be faithful to the journey?”
Rev. Dear says, “. . . Yes we can!”
Cosmic Weather Forecast
Taurus Full SuperMoon and Scorpio Solar Festival
Wednesday night we celebrate the Taurus Full SuperMoon and Scorpio Solar Festival, at 1:19 am EST, and 10:19 pm PST in America.
A SuperMoon occurs when the moon is at its closest approach to Earth during a new or full moon. The SuperMoon amplifies tidal currents, activates extreme weather patterns, supercharges emotional reactions, and elevates the energetic signature found in the sky during this unusual celestial event.
This Full Moon represents a crossroads in the Mayan Calendar, a milestone on the way to the historical watershed moment of 2012. According to astrologer Stephanie Austin, writing in “The Mountain Astrologer”, “from November 18, 2007 to November 12, 2008, we have been experiencing the 5th Night, a period fraught with economic upheaval as we witness the increasing breakdown of materialistic values and hierarchical structures. On the day of this Full Moon, we begin the 6th Day, representing the dawning of a new direction and a new era.”
Mayan scholar Carl Johan Calleman describes this turning point moment as “the shift from chaos to the enlightened world.” He says that “we are talking about the emergence of an entirely new species of human being”, and predicts that during this period, which lasts through November 7, 2009, we will see the emergence of huge numbers of people into a more elevated global consciousness.
There are signs it’s happening already! Here’s something you didn’t see on the TV news in America, obsessed as we were with our Presidential election cycle this fall. On October 18-20, 166.99 million people participated in a weekend of co-operative action and demonstrations against poverty in over 131 countries.
The event, called “Stand Up, Take Action!”, was designed to promote awareness of the United Nations’ anti-poverty program and its benchmark “Millennium Development Goals”, which are essential to-do items if humanity is to end poverty around the world.
These goals include: eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, providing for universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, combating HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development including both rich and poor nations.
These Millennium Development Goals could be achieved with an expenditure of some $16 billion per year, but the goals have been all but ignored by rich nations during the global financial crisis, which has hit the poorest people on Earth much worse than anyone in America.
The World Bank estimates that high food and energy prices have pushed another 100 million people into poverty this year alone.
Yet this fall, self-absorbed rich nations pledged only $16 billion between now and 2015 to reach these UN Development goals, which comes to between $2 and $3 billion a year. That same week, the US found $700 billion to aid Wall Street financiers and bankers.
And that doesn’t count the money the Fed has been providing to gigantic financial institutions on the sly. Bloomberg News reports that “The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.” (See the full story below in our “Top News Stories From Around the Web”.)
Visit the website of the “Global Call to Action Against Poverty”, for more information, for hints on how you can take action against poverty, and to volunteer as part of this global mass movement.
There are many who say that we can never end poverty, and that the disparity between rich and poor is bound to widen even more as we enter the difficult transition to a post-carbon 21st century world. But 166.99 million people shouted out loud and clear this October, “Yes, we can!”
In fact, “Yes, we can!” is the motto of this Full Moon and Scorpio Solar Festival. The Sabian symbol for the Moon at 22˚ Taurus is “White dove flying over troubled waters; the spiritual inspiration that comes to the individual in the overcoming of crisis.”
And the Sabian symbol for the Sun at 22˚ Scorpio is “Hunters shooting wild ducks; the socially accepted release of an individual’s or a group’s aggressive instincts.”
The message here is clear. We are called upon to act upon the inner planes and in the outer world.
This Full Moon the Holy Spirit is abroad in the land, to provide love and wisdom to our troubled hearts and minds. We need only to tune in, turn inward, and listen quietly. This deep communion with Spirit will provide us with the answers we seek. This is the inner work.
This Full Moon we are called to channel our anger about inequality, wasted resources, greed, war, and environmental destruction into constructive channels that can provide nourishment for the family, for the community. We are called upon to act in the outer world with the care, the respect, the force and the concentration of the successful hunter. This is the outer work.
This Full Moon we are being given the energy, the inspiration and the outlets we need to do the inner work and the outer work. And this is just the beginning. Developing the ability to do both inner and outer work is the basic requirement for the 21st century citizen, for the forging of the global community which will usher in the Aquarian Age, the post-2012 dawning of a new collective consciousness and a new brotherhood and sisterhood among all people.
It is appropriate for us to give thanks for the timely help, inspiration, energy and Divine guidance we are being given from Spirit, and from our chosen Guides and Teachers this month.
We are only two weeks from Thanksgiving, a major holiday here in America.
Let us give thanks to the Universe for all the many gifts we have been given in our lives that have helped us to advance spiritually. Let us give thanks to our parents, to our ancestors, to our spiritual teachers, to the long lineage of teachers that preceded them, and to our friends, our neighbors, our families and all those who have touched our lives.
Let us give thanks in advance for the spiritual gifts we know we shall receive when we are fully prepared, for we are certain that even now, although we experience the ups and downs of daily existence, the brightening and the darkening of consciousness that comes in cycles as we travel the peaks and valleys of life, we will reach our goal – if not today, then tomorrow, if not this lifetime, then in the next, if not in this world, then in the Realm of Spirit.
For this is the promise of all Wisdom Teachings, that the spiritual evolution of humanity is part of the unfolding consciousness that comprises the totality of the Universe, and each of us shares in that consciousness. “Tat tvam asi”, “Thou art That”, is the Mahâvâkya (Grand Pronouncement) from the Chandogya Upanishad.
Let us recall the promise of the Cosmic Christ, expressed in John (14:12) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”
Let us recall in all humility that service to humanity is the inevitable fruit of gratitude and let us all ask our Spiritual Guides and Teachers at this time of Thanksgiving to provide us with golden opportunities to be of maximum service in the world during the coming year.
Let us extend love offerings to our family, friends, neighbors, and especially to those who grew the food for our Thanksgiving feast during long seasons of labor in sun and rain and wind, and to those who will cook it!
As I look around me this Thanksgiving, I am surrounded by abundance, blessed with abundance in every aspect of my life. I have a warm, snug home in the country where we can grow fresh food, get fresh air & commune with nature. We are surrounded by farmland and woods, and we have delicious lacto fermented foods 'put by' for winter that came from our own garden. We have an abundance of squash, carrots & potatoes from the farm down the road, also 'put by' for those frosty days deep in winter when we dream of next years' gardens.
We have a closet full of fine quartz crystals, and two more closets full of dried herbs, tinctures, flower essences, essential oils and other ingredients for Jane’s Homemade Herbal Toiletries, teas, tinctures and remedies.
We have some money in the bank.
We live in a natural power spot, full of beauty, enlivened with the daily rhythms of agricultural work, and with the daily comings and goings of our many animal friends that live up and down our road – songbirds that awaken us with their celebration of life, cows, dogs, cats, hawks, turkeys, crows, buzzards, horses, deer, fox, chickens, sheep, coyotes and more.
Jane and I are blessed with a view of the Catskill mountains from our living room window, and we see spectacular sunsets all four seasons of the year from our front yard. Climb a hundred yards up the hill behind our house and you can see for a hundred and fifty miles up and down the Hudson River valley.
Jane and I are blessed to have the time to engage in a daily spiritual practice, and to have had the opportunity to study with a number of exceptionally gifted guides and teachers in this lifetime. For this we are continuously grateful.
Most important of all, Jane and I are blessed through a multitude of gratifying relationships. We thank our neighbors who care for one another. We thank our families for their support and love. Without that we would be impoverished indeed.
We wish to especially thank all those who contribute their stories, their poetry, their wisdom, their time and their efforts to the Satya Center website for without them there would be no Satya Center. We wish to thank our many dear readers who make the website a worthwhile endeavor. We wish to thank our many friends, near and far, with whom we communicate and share a tremendous energy, with whom we share our lives.
Our challenges at this historic moment are great, and the way before us steep and thorny. The path of ascension is a path of danger, sacrifice, and constant struggle. Can we as a species rise to the occasion? As I feel my heart open to you all tonight, I can only say what I know is in your hearts as well. “Yes, we can!”
May you each receive the grace and guidance you need to achieve your loftiest goals in life! Happy Thanksgiving!
TopSatyaCenter Stories of the Week
In a new article entitled “Financing Poverty: How the Global Financial Casino Impoverishes the Planet” renowned scientists and environmental activists Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Professor Peter Saunders sound the call for a totally new economic paradigm.
“Taxpayer's money is being misused in the global financial crisis to rescue those that have grown super-rich by draining the real economy, creating poverty, and fuelling the destruction of the earth,” Dr. Ho and Prof. Saunders contend. “It's time to replace the dominant model with a circular eco-economy that mimics nature in maximising the efficient use of renewable energies, the sequestering of carbon from the atmosphere, and the recycling of ‘wastes’ into resources. This circular economy will prove itself most effectively in organic, localised food and energy systems that can free us from fossil fuels while feeding and energizing the world.”
Award-winning journalist Palagummi Sainath, who writes about starving farmers and untouchables in India’s rural areas for “The Hindu” newspaper takes a South Asian view of the American election in his thought-provoking article, “Obama's Magic Moment”. Sainath is concerned about prospects for peace in India’s back yard, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, under an Obama administration.
“What will Obama's election mean for the rest of the world?” asks Sainath. “. . .Hopefully, much of what Obama said about acting unilaterally on Pakistani soil was part of the rhetoric of the campaign trail. Perhaps he will now discard the idea. If lucky, he will not escalate the war in Afghanistan, maybe the most wretched nation on earth, though he said he would. Will he steer the United States more quickly out of Iraq? How will he lead a nation where powerful forces still believe economic decline can and must be offset by military might?
“For the moment, though, the idea of the first African-American family ever to occupy the White House in history overrides every other fact, issue and thought,” Sainath continues. “And justly so. For a community that endured the worst forms of slavery and oppression for centuries, this was their proudest moment.”
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Top News Stories From Around the Web
[Ed. Note: These are excerpts from lengthy news stories that provide the analytical context, the intellectual framework, the historical analysis, that is so completely missing from most so-called news in the mainstream media. If you are interested in the topic, click on the link provided to read more. . .]