*Sacred Order of Bodhisattvas, Buddhies, Beatniks, Bohemians, Bards, and Bozos

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thanks -- and No Thanks
Some Personal Reflections on Thanksgiving Day
"Oh, Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me, I am small and weak,  I need your strength and wisdom." -- from a prayer
by Lakota Chief Yellow Lark, 1887
(Entire Prayer)

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children." 
-- Ancient Native American Proverb

The three day feast that brought together 90 Wampanoags and the 50 surviving Pilgrims to a feast at Plymouth Plantation in 1621 has become part of the Mythology of American Democracy.  

Unfortunately, this idyllic tale doesn't portray the stark reality of the Holocaust that ensued as European colonists descended on this continent bringing with them a harshly judgmental Christianity and the European concepts  of Private Property and Capitalism.

Although the set of Democratic Ideals set forth in the Preamble to the US Constitution reflect humanity's universal quest for a just society, "our forefathers" also brought forth on this continent disease, death, domination, and the destruction of a Way of Life that understood and honored humanity's relationship to Mother Earth, to the Great Spirit and to the Circle of All Life.   The Indigenous People's practiced a more advanced Spirituality, an Ethos of connection and sustainability. Our forefathers brought with them, instead, the Unbridled Greed buried in the belly of Capitalism, and the myopic worldview of fundamentalist Christianity with its mindset that reinforces our separation from one another, from the natural world, and from our spiritual connection to all that is.  Through force of arms (including germ warfare and the power of "law"), the bad guys won.

Unfortunately for Mother Earth and her myriad beings, they still are.

Friday, November 11, 2016

It's Showtime

"In this world, hate never yet dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate. This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible. " -- Buddha 

"I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." -- Jesus 

"Don't mourn.  Organize!" -- Joe Hill

Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. moved mountains in their time. This is our time.  

Seems like Truth and Love was the Basic Plan, right?  

This election was the wake up call. Find some friends and figure out what to do -- and do it non-violently.  We need to get our act together -- and ACT.  

No one tactic is going to pull this off. Some of it looks like standing our ground with folks at Standing Rock.  Some of that looks like reaching out to connect with the "other side".  

Hell, I awoke yesterday thinking the best thing I could do is stop at the first house I see with a Trump sign, knock on the door, and engage in a respectful conversation to find out why they did -- and see where we can find some common ground. 

We gotta start building some bridges here or it's all gonna be water over the dam.  

It's showtime. 
Yours in Peace and Struggle,
Brother Lefty

Friday, September 16, 2016

Happy Fifth Birthday #Occupy Wall Street!


September 17,  marks the fifth anniversary of the day that protesters descended on Wall Street and Zuccotti Park in New York City, re-naming it Liberty Park and launching #Occupy Wall Street!  

I put this video together on Occupy's First Birthday.  I had written the song when Mayor Bloomberg, aware that thousands more people had flocked to Zuccotti Park to prevent his first attempt to clear the park in October, backed down.

Back home in Western Massachusetts, I stayed up all night, riveted to the Livestream.   "By dawn's early light", a roar surged through the crowd as the announcement was made that Bloomberg had caved.  The song wrote itself.

Of course, I had to rewrite it after the Mayor's Militarized Minions swept the park in November.  Yet, it's still a Song of Triumph.  As the song now sez, "you can trash a camp, but you can't sweep away the Spirit! 

It's SO not over!

#Occupy Five Years Down the Road

Although the mainstream media has often tried to discount the impact of the two month encampment, there can be no doubt that beyond the amazing spread of the #Occupy movement across the United States that fall, the Spirit continued to move across the land in a myriad of local, regional and national efforts to create a more equitable and democratic society.   (Read Michael Levitin's  article in The Atlantic, "The Triumph of Occupy Wall Street.")

On the national level, it seems to me that the emergence of Bernie Sanders, an avowed Democratic Socialist, as a credible candidate for the Democratic nomination for President this year was a direct result of #OWS! bringing into focus the alarming, and growing, income inequality existing in the US.  

Although he didn't secure the nomination from the embedded Democratic Party establishment, the campaign he calls "a Political Revolution" continues on to confront the utter domination and distortion of our democratic process by a wealthy corporate elite.  Unfortunately, the widespread frustration with the continuing looting of the economic resources of this nation -- and the world -- by the banksters and tycoons, and the culture of fear and divisiveness that has been fomented by the Republican Party for decades has also fueled the campaign of one of the worst of the ruling elite, Donald Trump.   

Yet, at this stage of the journey, on the eve the Fifth Anniversary of that magic September day that sparked an autumn blaze of urban encampments throughout the United States, I think its time to celebrate, to reflect, and to re-commit to the on-going efforts to work for a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."   

Over the course of it's two month occupation, #OWS! made the case.  Now it's up to each of us to stay on the case. 

My Humble Take on the Real Deal

I believe that the movement for peace, economic democracy and social justice is a Spiritual Quest. No mean feat, what is called for is a True Revolution of the Heart and Mind--and it starts with each of us.

This revolution has to be Peaceful. The Hippies (and Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King, et al) had it right. It really is all about Peace and Love. Besides being a total drag, violence just doesn't work. It keeps our wheels spinning in fear, anger and pain. Who needs that?

Besides some hard work, I think the Revolution also calls for dancing, plenty of laughter, and some sitting around just doing nothing. (Some folks call it meditation.)

As Stephen Gaskin, proclaimed years ago:

"We're out to raise Hell--in the Bodhisattvic* sense."

Doesn't that sound like some serious fun?

(*The Bodhisattva Vow is a set of commitments made in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It basically says I vow to get my act together and figure it out well enough to really help out--and I ain't gonna stop until everybody is covered.

I've found that doesn't necessarily have to happen in that order. It's best to try to help out even before you have it all together! Like right now.)

-----Brother Lefty Smith, Founding S.O.B*