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.
Yet, it doesn't have to be that way.  Although history shows us that those with more guns and less morals often hold the day,  Mahatma Gandhi, armed with nothing but a spinning wheel, the force of Great Loving Soul, and the Power of the People, sent the British Empire packing.  Empires do rise and fall.

The Sitting Bull you don't read about in your history books
It's true that I feel a deep gratitude  for family and friends, and for the great material richness that I experience even as poor pensioner living well bellow the poverty line.  It's true that I feel a deep gratitude for being alive, for being zapped by the One Love during that collective kensho of the Hippie Spiritual Pentacost of the 60's.  I'll take the time to feel and express that today.

Yet, I will take time this Thanksgiving Day to meditate and mourn.   I'll pray, as well, for the the countless sentient beings whose lives have, and continue to be, destroyed through the lack of human decency that characterizes  rapacious capitalism and its spiritual doppelganger, clueless christendom (Not to be confused with a Christianity that emerges from following Jesus's teachings of Love and Service).  I will then take time to count my blessings, take heart, recite my vows,  -- and roll up my sleeves.  There is a lot of work to be done.

Obviously, I will take the time to rant, rave, and ramble on as well.

National Day of Mourning Reflects on Thanksgiving’s Horrific, Bloody History

Juan Gonzalez performs ritual of connection and healing
National Day of Mourning, Plymouth, MA
November 25, 2010

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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*