Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanks --and No Thanks.

Some Personal Reflections on Thanksgiving Day, 2014

"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.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lest We Forget: It Seems the Good Die Young

(I'm sitting here in tears listening to soul singer Marvin Gaye's rendition of "Abraham, Martin, John" as I write this.  
You may want to as well.)

My fingers were fumbling at the keyboard in typing class that day in 1963, exactly 51 years ago, when the teacher from across the hall came into the room and whispered in Miss Jefferson's ear.

Her face turned white.

The other teacher left and Miss Jefferson broke into tears as she announced that President Kennedy had been shot and taken to a hospital in Dallas.

No one said a word.

Moment's later the other teacher returned. He didn't have to say a word.  His face, a portrait of horror and helplessness said it all.  We knew.  He knew we knew.  Holding back tears, he shrugged awkardly, turned -- and left. 

The unimaginable had happened.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A 1950's Housewife Drops Acid -- For Real !

 (Researcher finds archived footage of clinical LSD research interview)

I haven't dropped acid since 1994. On a steamy day in mid-August that year, I ending up tripping my brains out for hours as M.C. of the smaller of the two stages set up at Yasgur's Farm for the 25th Anniversary of Woodstock.  These days, content with the benefits of a longtime meditation practice, I rarely even partake of magic herb.  Yet I still have a deep gratitude for the seers, saints and sinners of  the Psychedelic Spiritual Revolution of my youth.

Although names like Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, and my favorite Hippie Spiritual Teacher, the late Stephen Gaskin, are relatively well known, there were millions of us who participated in that Revolution.  (You know Who you are, right?)

Exploring the realms of human consciousness through myriad medicines, mushrooms and herbs,  a bunch of us turned on, tuned in, and dropped out -- at least for while.  I believe it may have been one of the most widespread outpourings of Mystical Consciousness ever experienced by humankind.
By the time I graduated from college with the infamous class of 1969, it was well underway.  

I'd forgotten that LSD began being produced commercially by Sandoz as a therapeutic agent that "appeared to show great promise" in 1947.  Before LSD came out from behind closed doors to dance in the streets with flowers in its hair, our collective unconscious was already being dosed.  During the 1950's, there was growing interest in mind altering substances in the psychiatric community and among prominent British intellectuals like Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New World and The Doors of Perception) and Gerald Heard. Even the CIA was running clinical trials hoping to use it as a mind control agent in chemical warfare.  (As it turned out, that didn't work out for them so well.  Psychedelics helped fuel the peace movement, including the whimsical attempt to Levitate the Pentagon in 1967.) 

Although I don't spend much time scrolling through my Facebook news feed these days, Sweet Serendipity allowed me to surf to a video clip of a housewife who "dropped acid" as part of clinical trials of LSD at the VA hospital in Los Angeles in 1956.   Being interviewed by a researcher as she was tripping, her responses were Wonderful.  The internet being what it is, I had to do some research to make sure that it wasn't a very well produced spoof. 

It wasn't.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Democratic Demise

Robert Reich
Damn! Once again, my Lilliputian Brother Robert Reich nails it -- at least on the level of common sense.  Although President O stepped up to the plate and claimed "mea culpa" for the midterm election democratic debacle, Robert Reich disagrees. 

Why did they -- perhaps I should say We (the People and Democracy) -- get our butts kicked?

It seems that Reich and I almost see eye to eye on this one.  I'm only 5'2" -- so in my case this is relatively easy.  

In my words, not his
(Reich's article on truthdig is linked below)

The Freakin' Democrats didn't campaign on the real issues:  
$$$ Gross Income Inequality $$$

$$$ Abuse of Power  $$$
the unlimited money corrupting our democratic process 

$$$ Propaganda and Mind Control $$$
mass media dominated by huge corporations 
and advertising dollars


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*