Monday, June 23, 2014

Notes on the World Cup: A Good Sport...?

I enjoy a good soccer match.  The athleticism and teamwork are, at times, awe inspiring.

Yet, the patriotic jingoism emerging during the World Cup is deeply disturbing. As I sense it, the emotional excesses of nationalism that continue to erupt in this spectacle, like those that increasingly pervade the Olympics these days, are just tragic manifestation of what Spiritual Teacher Eckhardt Tolle terms the  "collective ego". As J Krishnamurti notes in the meme to the right,  the "us-them" mentality of nationality and religion are a  fundamental source of violence. The mind state that is fanned and inflamed and exploited (and commercialized) during these sporting events is the psychic structure that supports ongoing warfare and senseless bloodshed.

It seems to me that it has gotten a lot worse over the years in the culture of sports.  I used to roll my eyes when my dad talked about "the good old days", but...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Iraq Then and Now

In the commentary below, Bill Moyers reflects on a headline as the US invaded Iraq in 2003. 

Like so many of us back then, Moyers cast his gaze on the Big Picture as US troops poured into the desert of Iraq:  the cruel cost of senseless hubris and thirst for empire strewn along the sands of time in the MIddle East.

A decade before, though, during the 1st Persian Gulf war, George Bush the First had chosen not to invade Iraq. His advisors knew that toppling the Iraqi Ba'ath regime would create region-wide havoc, the empowerment of radical Islamist forces, civil war, and uncontrollable sectarian bloodshot.

In their zeal for the "New American Century" of US world domination, however, George W and the Neo-cons disregarded that advice.

And there's been hell to pay -- mostly on the part of innocent civilians.

Don't let Fox News and the Right Wing blame the current situation on today's administration. What is happening is the direct result of the invasion of Iraq. It was predicted by a wide array of middle eastern scholars and diplomats -- not just us old hippies and peaceniks and the millions of others worldwide who demonstrated against the imminent invasion.

Don't let Fox News and the Right Wing craft our response today as they did back in 2003. 

Addressing the situation today through another round of military action will only add more fuel to the fires of a continuing nightmare. Our resources should be turned to fostering region-wide diplomatic solutions instead. 

Casting our gaze at the Big Picture, have a look and a listen to broadcast journalism at it's best as Moyers contemplates US Marines Crossing the Euphrates:

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*