At the Cusp of Transformations
Welcome to the March 12, 2007 edition of the Satya Center newsletter. Warm greetings from your Editors, Curtis Lang and Jane Sherry.
Snow is melting here in the mid-Hudson Valley, patches of brown grass are appearing in a sea of white, and we have gone from below-zero nights to sunny fifty degree days this week. Neighboring farmers have begun greenhouse operations to prepare seedlings for spring planting.
It is a time of transition in our little world, and a time of transition for the world at large. The reality of global warming and the imminent end of the hydro-carbon economy have finally begun to penetrate the dense collective thought-forms that structure our mass media mediated consciousness, which supports and maintains the self-destructive status quo.
Over the next couple of years, you’ll be seeing a stream of mainstream Hollywood movies in which human civilization stars as the black-hearted, slow-witted villain out to destroy Mother Nature. Big-budget movies already in the production queue include M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening”, “The Simpsons Movie”, “The Transformers” and James Cameron’s “Avatar”, offering viewers variations on the theme of humanity’s impending total self-destruction.
The good news is that most average people around the world understand the gravity of the situation, despite the best efforts of Fox News and the rest of the mainstream Anglo-Saxon media to misinform the global public.
There is no sign that political leaders in the US or UK have any clue about the urgency of the situation, however. If the history of the environmental movement gives us any indication, we can expect that it will take either a global financial crisis or an outpouring of popular rebellion, and millions of protesters in the streets, to capture politicians’ attention and focus their minds on solving the problem.
China is set to surpass the US in the emission of atmospheric CO2, and despite the announced good intentions of Chinese leadership, there is no indication they are able to deal with the crisis. Last year was "the most grim year for China's environmental situation", Pan Yue, deputy head of the Chinese State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), said in a statement in early January 2007. "The goals set out by the cabinet at the start of the year have (2006) absolutely not been achieved."
Meanwhile, the US war in Iraq is unraveling while Bush prepares for a nuclear strike in Iran, and sectarian violence threatens to engulf the entire Muslim world.
According to recent reports in "The New Yorker" and elsewhere, Bush and company originally saw the underdog Shiite Moslems in Iraq as their allies against the Sunni Moslem Baathites and Al Qaeda types who constituted the backbone of the Iraqi insurgency. This was very strange from a historical perspective, which is almost never given in the mainstream media.
A bit of the history makes this clear. Saudi Arabia is the most powerful Sunni dominated state and Iran the most powerful Shiite state. Bush and company have close political and family ties to the Saudi regime and America has a long history of doing business with Sunni Moslem monarchs and dictators, but almost no experience in dealing with Shiite leaders and states. American Presidents since the mid twentieth century have considered Shiites as crazed fundamentalists with a martyr complex and the fact that Moslem Communist parties always recruited heavily among Shiite populations did nothing to endear the Shiites to Washington.
The Shiites have been oppressed in Iraq, and throughout the Moslem world, for 1400 years, and were delighted to see democracy brought to Baghdad, since Iraq and Iran are the two largest Shiite majority Moslem states. In most other Moslem countries, the Shiites are about 10% of the population, and are considered heretics and worse. The Shiites historically have always been advocates for the poor while the Sunnis represent 1500 years of feudal authoritarian status quo in the Moslem world.
As a Shiite dominated freely elected government was installed in Baghdad, the Saudis and other Sunni Moslem leaders began to see red, and Bush and company began to fear that Baghdad would ally itself with Iran.
It is Sunni Moslem insurgents, who are responsible for the vast majority of attacks on American troops. The Sunnis are also attacking Shiite Iraqis of all political varieties, and casting the Shiite led Iraqi government as tools of the Imperialist Americans.
The Sunni insurgency has been receiving large amounts of foreign aid and an influx of foreign troops from Sunni countries including Jordan and Saudi Arabia throughout what is rapidly becoming an Iraqi civil war between Sunnis and Shiites.
The Shiites have been very restrained overall in their response to the Sunni onslaught, because they know that nurturing a successful democracy in Iraq could lead to democratic inroads across the Moslem world, which would enable Shiites to elevate their status and break the stranglehold on power exercised by their Sunni overlords.
Over the last few months, however, partially in response to a diplomatic initiative by Saudi Royals, Bush and company have focused on the Iranian threat above all, despite their problems in Iraq.
America has moved several aircraft carriers and other military platforms into the area near Iran, in preparation for war, and announced the possibility of using nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran is nowhere near creating an atomic bomb.
More troubling, Bush and company have recently begun to assemble a Sunni-based anti-Iranian coalition of states including Saudi Arabia and Jordan to help “contain” Iran and the Shiite militias in the infant Shiite-led Iraqi democracy.
All this despite the fact that it was mainly Sunnis who blew up the World Trade Center, al-Qaeda is composed mainly of Sunnis, and Sunnis are the ones instigating the vast majority of terrorist and martyrdom actions in Iraq.
As part of this bizarre alliance, Bush and company have also delivered a few billion dollars to the Saudi Royals to use in bolstering the organizations of the most extreme Sunni Moslem guerrilla fighters, in the hope that they will be a counterweight to emerging regional Shiite power.
As a result, relations between nuclear-armed Sunni dominated and Saudi-allied military dictatorship Pakistan and Iran are at an all time low and the odds that the civil war in Iraq to become a regional Sunni-Shiite bloodbath extending from the Arabian peninsula into Pakistan and Central and South Asia increase every day.
Once again, both parties in Washington are utterly disconnected from American public opinion, which demonstrated in the 2006 elections and in many opinion polls before and since, that a large majority of the American people want to disengage militarily in Iraq.
I believe most Americans want peace with Moslem countries, while continuing multi-national efforts to counter terrorism in all countries and work peacefully to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. That’s the good news.
The world is in crisis, but the crisis is precipitating an expansion of consciousness. The awakening of the vast majority of the world’s population is already well underway.
To avoid environmental devastation, to manage the challenges of the era of peak oil, to avoid widespread world war and nuclear annihilation, requires a complete restructuring of human society.
To achieve world peace and to achieve a new post-hydrocarbon global society based upon political democracy, sustainable economies, localized agricultural production and energy efficiency, requires a new set of social and political relations and a new group of world leaders.
To achieve peace among the world’s races and religions requires a new, more tolerant, ecumenical spirit and a total separation of religion and warfare. There can be no more widespread support for warrior religions if humanity is to survive.
Above all, there must be a healing of the wounded heart of the world. Right now, the vast majority of the world’s people are locked into issues related to the lower chakras – survival, sexual gratification and conquest, personal and collective will to power and conquest, and perpetuation of ancient patterns of dominance and submission.
The human heart is wounded by the war between the sexes, by the inability of the average human being to open his or her heart to love. This war has all but destroyed the basis for the human family.
The human heart is wounded by the constant human war to subdue Mother Nature – and that war is wrecking the world’s human-friendly ecology.
The human heart is wounded by the war of the priests, which has gone on for millennia, pitting one vision of God against another in bloody battles for the souls and wealth of entire peoples.
The human heart is wounded by the war of the rich against the poor, which has gone on for millennia, as those who have power use that power to exploit those whom they should be protecting and nurturing.
"Healing the Wounded Heart of the World"
There is only one way to heal the wounded heart of the world, and that way is the way that all true Spiritual Masters of both East and West have long traveled and taught. That way is the way of the open heart, the way of Love.
Only by opening our hearts to the suffering of our fellow human beings in countries and religions currently opposed to our own will we be able to understand them, forgive them, and work together with them to establish peaceful relations.
Only by opening our hearts to the suffering of the billions of people living in poverty around the world will be able to create social and economic systems that provide the necessities of life for all human beings.
Only by opening our hearts to the suffering of the billions of people who will be adversely affected by global climate change can we find within ourselves the strength to change our addictive patterns of behavior, engrained in our daily lives by the global hydrocarbon economy.
Only by opening our hearts to our fellowship with all living creatures, on land, sea and air, and only by opening our hearts to the web of life that constitutes the living, breathing heart and mind of our planetary Mother will we become sensitive enough to fashion a new human society that can thrive in co-operation with that web of life rather than seeking to subdue, conquer and exploit every element of life on Earth.
The solution to all our problems on Earth can be found if we have the courage to open our hearts to love. Love is the answer. Love is the way, and love will find a way.
It is not fashionable to speak in this manner. Love died in our mainstream discourse some time ago. Love is something that only hippies believed to be real. Too many of those hippies grew up to become yuppies and now strive unceasingly to defend and uphold the increasingly unlovely, deadly and deadening status quo. That is an index of how far we have gone toward a society that is based on Thanatos – on Death. For on this blue-green planet, in our human society, based upon the duality of human sexuality, human experience manifests within the polarities of Eros and Thanatos, Love and Death. It is up to us to choose – Death or Love.
I have every confidence that humanity will choose Love, in its many forms and guises, for Love is the evolutionary goal of humanity. The manifestation of that goal is the development within humanity of a Higher Consciousness, which will operate in a state of ever-Self-conscious Unity with the web of life and also of Self-conscious Unity with Higher Worlds. This Higher Human Consciousness has a Divine Purpose. That Higher Purpose is to do the work of a world-transforming Divine Will. That Divine Will requires that humanity consciously infuse every particle of the web of life on Earth, every sentient and non-sentient being, with the energy of universal unity, healing, affirmation and co-operation known as unconditional Love.
This is what is meant by Teachers who speak of Universal Brotherhood, by Wise Ones who speak of the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. As a species, we are currently in a process of recognizing the limits of our egoistic consciousness, prior to surrendering to Higher Consciousness. That surrender takes place when we open our hearts to love, when we make a choice to serve Love, to experience Love, to seek Love out.
In the course of human history, poets, lovers, prophets and priestesses have pointed out the many paths to love. In celebration of the many paths to love, and to inspire us all to open our hearts, I offer you a new version of an ancient story about the healing and redeeming power of love.
It’s called “The Rishi, the Sadhu, the Fool and the Milkmaid”.
This parable, a love story for all times and places, reveals a path of enlightenment that depends upon the opening of the heart and the acceptance of joy in the midst of earthly suffering.
Top Satya Center Stories of the Week
In a new article, historian, social scientist and visionary author Andrew Bard Schmookler explores “The Challenge of Affluence: A Root of America’s Moral Crisis”.
“The rise of the dark and dangerous forces now ruling America cannot be understood in isolation,” Schmookler argues. “This Bushite regime should be seen, rather, as a symptom of a more general moral crisis in American society, of an erosion of the moral structures that historically have held American society together.”
“The American ethic of self-indulgence born of our affluence enables people to saddle their descendants with their own debt, running up huge deficits in the national accounts,” Schmookler points out. “The habit of yielding to baser impulses makes it easier to support baser policies in the collective realm” -- like wars of imperial aggression around the world.
In this article, Schmookler analyzes the last fifty years of American history, discusses the culpability of both right wingers and liberals, dissects the current culture of anything-goes self-indulgence, and places a great deal of responsibility for our current dysfunctional political system at the feet of the advertising and marketing machine that shapes popular culture and mass consciousness.
Social activist, Wiccan priestess and “Newsweek” commentator Starhawk explores what it means “To Be a True Friend of the Jewish People”.
March 20, 2004 San Francisco Peace Rally
“I can think of nothing more unfaithful to the strong Jewish traditions of social justice than the current climate of vicious denunciation towards anyone who raises criticisms of Israel’s policies,” Starhawk, who was born and raised Jewish, argues.
In this article, Starhawk relates the lessons she’s learned from many years spent traveling to the Holy Land, working as a peace activist,and offers some suggestions that might help heal the wounds on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Wise woman healer and author Susun Weed advocates “Using Herbs Simply and Safely”.
“A simple is one herb,” Susun says. “For optimum safety, I prepare, buy, sell, teach about and use herbal simples, that is: preparations containing only one herb.”In this article Susun presents a set of simple guidelines for growing, buying and using herbal remedies that provide useful information and food for thought beneficial to novice herb lovers and experienced herbalists alike.
Poet James Bertolino offers a pair of exquisite poems that express the magical transition moment between winter’s end and spring’s ascent.
In “What Water Says” James’ reflections on water’s seasonal transformations guide the heart along the path to unity with nature, and through that unity, points a metaphorical finger at the ultimate goal -- self-realization.
In “Carrot", James gives voice to the humble root, offering an expectant vegetal viewpoint on the joys of an upcoming golden spring.
Top Spiritual Stories From Around the Web
Eternity, Life and Death, and Our Conscious Evolution on Earth Ending Fear and Suffering
by Robert Wilkinson
In the venerable "Magic of Space" the author states repeatedly that all is “composed” of the substance of Universal Mind, also called Eternal Consciousness. That is the source of the Ten Thousand Things, in the classic sense. It is well established and accepted in the Wisdom Tradition that Nothingness morphs into Limitlessness while not losing its essential nature, and the resulting emanation (the Synthetic principle in all creation, cosmic and human) results in Limitless Light. All is Limitless Light, you and me included.
Limitless Light is the great Maya from which all comes and to which all returns. Infinite Emptiness (Spaciousness) is Infinitely Spatial, and is Luminous in quality. That's why many who go into very deep meditational states experience a sense of "Spaciousness and Luminosity" where all collapses into one dimensional Light. Ultimately, Light is all there IS, and can be experienced as both wave forms and particles in infinitely varied manifestations.
In our world of constantly shifting forms, everything is Originated, then Created, Formed, and Expressed. This process occurs first on “invisible” levels, then on “visible” levels. It is how nothingness comes to manifest as all that is, and why everything is composed of Light particles, also known as Prana, Ruach, Pneuma, or Spirit. Darkness arises because the nature of light is to form shadows when it hits dense fields. That is the origination of all “darkness.” The light is still all that IS. The darkness shifts with the density and form of the field, thus demonstrating its inherent unreality.
. . .Fear is a pandemic that has never been adequately dealt with, though we have many examples of people who have overcome fear completely. We overcome individual and collective problems by getting our “spiritual immune system” in shape, which involves constant personal attunement, understanding growth is eternal yet always in the here and Now, perfection always down the Path, and the Eternal Beneficence always available.
Some say life on Earth is a realm in which limitation/darkness/fear is intrinsic, and that we've agreed to "balance" this realm with pathways of light/expansion/love. This admits the illusion is real, even though there is no intrinsic reality to darkness and fear. Actually, our life in human form is about us attuning to the Higher frequencies of consciousness, and ultimately leads us beyond being trapped in these into a constant remembrance to be that which we always are, i.e., Eternal Radiance whose nature is Love.
We’re not balancing as much as unlearning delusions, attachments, and aversions that have put us all within a larger illusion of suffering that seems more real than it is, individually and collectively. Once we recognize the means not to get stuck in places of darkness and fear, then we simply can be the Eternal Radiance that we are unencumbered by negative states.
It is not a vain imagining to say that we can experience a unified, Higher Consciousness any time we want. To doubt that gives the illusion of unawareness more power than it deserves. I promise you – any time you directly ask for a miracle, or a “divine revelation,” you WILL get one, usually pdq.
Swami Amar Jyoti
LIGHT IN SANSKRIT IS JYOTI— “THAT WHICH SHINES.” Light manifests on various levels, from the utmost, supreme Light—subtlest, absolute, invisible, that which you can only Be—to the most gross form. From the glowworm, as you go higher and higher, light becomes more intense and powerful, like the lightning that can destroy but is normally benevolent. Above that is the light of the sun, supernovas and quasars, etc. The sun you cannot look at directly; it is so powerful, its radiation will blind you. To us the sun is life-giving; we worship it as the Sun Deva, an exalted state, yet even the sun’s light is physical, gross.
In the physical sense, Light comes into our eyes; that is why they are called “windows of the Soul.” But this is only a tiny manifestation of Light; the physical apparatus of the eyes can hold only so much light or they will become blind. The creation has to balance. The physical body can hold only so much wisdom, so much occultism. If the Prophets, Enlightened Beings and Sages would radiate more Divine Light than they do, the body could not hold it; it would just explode or disintegrate. Yogis know that they can only project so much at their will. Ordinary people, whom we call ignorant, by contrast generally use their will instinctively, which manifests as imbalance and disharmony to the point beyond which, if they push themselves, will cause nervous breakdowns or other difficulties.
WE ARE FULL OF LIGHT. Our bodies cannot express the full impact of this, our bones and flesh and blood simply cannot hold it. When darkness increases in our bodies we become heavy, depressed, miserable, diseased; when Light becomes too much, our bodies also shatter. For this reason there is a self-contained mechanism within us to hold on to that part of the Light by which the body is sustained. When the body is not sustained, the Light is fading; in Yogic terms we say the pranas have become weak. Then the senses begin to lose their sense gratification, the blood does not course back youthfully, the nervous system becomes weakened. In Sanskrit this is called Shitheel, when the Light fades.
In ancient Vedic times the Aryans, which in Sanskrit means “noble or civilized ones,” were worshippers of fire. Long before other Devas and Devis1 were recognized, the Fire Deva was considered the giver of prana or life. Prana is a higher Light than even the sun or moon, which fade before the Light of prana, jivan shakti. Prana gives us Light—to our eyes, our ears, our entire body. By that Light we live; with that Light we see the darkness, we speak, we exist. When prana becomes weak, it wants to be “fed” by further enkindling of that Light. Prana comes from Spirit, the nucleus of Light, which is beyond what we can see or feel. That inherent, intrinsic, fundamental, basic Light is the Substance; it is not objective or tangible. You can only indicate that Light—Jyotish, Jyotish Bhava—or merge into It and be fully Enlightened.
. . .Within you is the nucleus from which everything emerges, and that is where Light is. This nucleus of Light has been termed by yogis the antara guha.2 When you merge with That, you become Light—immortal, eternal, infinite, pervading. It not only liberates you, you no longer exist. You are Light. Light merges into Light, from which all other forms are born.
When your chakras are awakened and illumined, you will see dazzling Light—beyond words. Even though it is not physical, when that Ultimate Light flashes within you, you will glow. The Upanishad says, Lord, lead us from darkness to Light. That longing for Light is self-extinguishing love, like a moth mad after the flame. Compared to that attraction, charm and beauty, nothing else attracts. For those who are mad after God, it is not only the beauty or radiance that attracts them. They know: This is my True Self.
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Top News Stories From Around the Web
The New Yorker
Annals of National Security
Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?
by Seymour M. Hersh March 5, 2007
Efforts to curb Iran’s influence have involved the United States in worsening Sunni-Shiite tensions.
A STRATEGIC SHIFT
In the past few months, as the situation in Iraq has deteriorated, the Bush Administration, in both its public diplomacy and its covert operations, has significantly shifted its Middle East strategy. The “redirection,” as some inside the White House have called the new strategy, has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Published on Thursday, March 8, 2007 by WorkingForChange.com
Dems' Big Middle Finger to the American Voter
by David Sirota
One of my idiosyncratic little hobbies of late is to keep a tally on statements by Washington politicians and pundits that are express an open hatred for democracy. This hobby is a subset of a bigger collection of quotes I collect that show how Washington politicians are entirely divorced from the political reality they purport to be experts on - a classic example is Sen. Chuck Schumer's hilariously moronic declaration to New York Magazine that strengthening the Patriot Act is politically good for red state Democrats . . . Today, we get a beauty from South Dakota Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D).
In the Washington Post's solid writeup of the debate over Iraq in the House, a faction of Democrats continues to attack the very Election 2006 mandate they were vaulted into office on: opposition to the war. Justifying her opposition to bills that would stop President Bush's military escalation, we get this gem from South Dakota's lone House member:
"I don't think we should be overreacting to public opinion polls."
. . .Herseth, of course, is following the tried and true path of fellow politicians and pundits insulated comfortably in the Washington bubble. It was Cheney who said in November that the war "may not be popular with the public - it doesn't matter." It was David Brooks who said a few months ago that "voters shouldn’t be allowed to define the choices in American politics." There was the Bush administration in August of 2006 telling the New York Times "that they are considering alternatives other than democracy" in Iraq - after repackaging the war as an exercise in pro-democracy nation building. The Times itself just recently said that Democrats pushing antiwar legislation strongly supported by the public are "fringe." And let's not forget The New Republic's Peter Beinart who trumpeted groups that - in an oxymoronic backflip - believe "the less beholden politicians are to gr