liveonearth: (Default)
"Times are difficult globally;
awakening is no longer a luxury or an ideal.
It’s becoming critical.
We don’t need to add more depression,
more discouragement,
or more anger to what’s already here.
It’s becoming essential that we learn
how to relate sanely with difficult times.
The earth seems to be beseeching us
to connect with joy
and discover our innermost essence.
This is the best way
that we can benefit others."
~ Pema Chodron
liveonearth: (Default)
I read this morning about a doctor who went mad and shot people in a hospital. As a doctor myself, I know that docs have terrible stresses trying to deal with a corrupt medical-industrial system that impairs our ability to help people regain their health. Then I went to look at the NY times article, here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/nyregion/bronx-hospital-shooting.html. He's richly melanated, that is to say, he has lived a life of fear because of his skin color. I infer from his violence that he may have been guilty of the accusation--sexual misconduct. He was a man, and he was angry enough to shoot others and hopeless enough to set himself on fire and shoot himself. He did not see any way out. He knew he would not receive compassion.

What people forget when they demonize any group of humans is that they are human. Dark skinned people. Doctors. Men. Gun owners. Murderers. Whatever group. All humans share the same basic needs. When those needs are not met, we have the same basic emotions. Driven hard enough, any of us could become dangerous. Hitler had reasons. The Arabs that flew airplanes into buildings had reasons. No one is pure evil, we are simply human and if tortured we can lash out, or become cunning.

My hope that that everyone who reads this will take a deep breath or three and think about the kind of pain that drives a person to such horrors. My hope is that compassion will rise in spite of the poisonous atmosphere of shame and blame that dominates our political world. We all deserve an opportunity to be free from fear, long enough to find our centers and our hearts and reach out into the world from that place. It will take a lot of us finding compassion to heal these wounds.
liveonearth: (pentacle 2)
This is the after-elementary-school program being offered by an organization called The Satanic Temple.   It was news to me, but the Satanists I met tonight at the FFRF meeting consider themselves to be atheists.  They do not believe in a metaphysical God or Satan.  Satan instead is a symbol of individual liberty, of the ability we each have to say "I'm out" when someone offers us a load of dogma.  Lucifer, of course, is the fallen angel in Christian mythology who refused to tow the line.  "...Our metaphor of Satan is a literary construct inspired by authors such as Anatole France and Milton--a rebel angel defiant of autocratic structure and concerned with the material world. Satanism as a rejection of superstitious supernaturalism."

This take on Satan is all fine and good if you're inside that particular literary bubble.  If you, like me, grew up surrounded by Christian mythology, Satan is THE bad guy.  So I was a bit taken aback that they want to call their program this, and their club, and so on.  Why choose such a hot button for Christians?  Why not call it after school Humanism, or Atheism, or Evolution???  Well they do have a reason.  The concept is that Satanists can assert their rights as a religious organization and influence public affairs, reminding the dominant religious groups that in America such privileges are for all religions, not just the chosen ones.

I also learned that the legal definition of a religious organization is one that takes a stand about god.  Hence an atheist organization is a religious organization in the good old US of A.

The Oregon chapter of The Satanic Temple is brand new.  They've offered After School Satan Clubs at two elementary schools where Good News Clubs are already offered.  They plan to teach evolution, and how the world was formed.  The only problem is that when the local chaper offered an open house at a local school, the superintendent of the school (Karen Gray) let all the students and teachers go home an hour early, effectively eliminating the curious audience while also ticking off the parents who had to get out of work an hour early to pick up their babies.  Only two students signed up.  I wonder how many would have signed up if it was the After School Spaghettimonster Club?

The 2001 Supreme Court Decision called Good News Club vs Milford Central School resulted in a decision that the Milford school's restriction of the Good News Club violated the Club's free speech rights, and that no Establishment Clause concern justified that violation.  If you don't remember the Establishment Clause, it's the part of the First (free speech) Amendment that prohibits the establishment of religion by Congress.  So after school programs are allowed access to school premises regardless of content.  Free speech is allowed by religious groups as well as boy scouts, debate and chess club...and Corporations, but that's a separate ball of wax.

The Good News Club is a private Christian organization for children.  Their goal is to Christianize the next generation.  They teach elementary school kids that they are sinners and that they are going to hell if they don't repent and do right by this one particular version of God.  The Child Evangelism Fellowship creates the curriculum and trains instructors.  They have over 40,000 volunteers in the US and in 2011 there were 3560 clubs in public schools in the US and over 42,000 clubs worldwide.  THIS is how they get off calling it a Christian Nation.  And they are effectively brainwashing children before they've developed the powers of discimination to know they've been hoodwinked.    A 5th grader is unlikely to really comprehend that the teachings after school are of a different nature from the teachings in school.

Because of the 2001 SCOTUS decision, Satanists have the same rights of access to public schools as Christians, so After School Satan is one answer to the Christianization.  The name is intended to provoke Christians, and it does.  There have been ample protests.  The goal is simple: to get the Christians to remove their programs from public schools, so that then the Satanists will go back into private and stop enticing their children with cool programs and rebelliousness.

One of the coolest things I heard from tonight's programs was the 7 Tenets of The Satanic Temple.  They are beautifully enlightened so I will share:

I. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.


II. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.


III. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.


IV. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.


V. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.


VI. People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.


VII. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

Wouldn't it be nice if THESE were American Values?

liveonearth: (davinci cat)

We need to listen to the patients' story
and develop a response to it.
The approach to complex syndromes
may be much more profound
than just trying to point a round peg into a square hole
and get a singular diagnosis.

--Jeffrey S. Bland, PhD

liveonearth: (moon)

It's an old western with Lee Marvin, really a wonderful movie about a cowboy who looses everything but maintains his center, his calm and his kindness.  It seems to be about the end of the Wild West.  There's a fantastic and long riding scene in which the cowboy named Monte "rides the grey down".  Humorous too.  I liked it.  My mom complains that it was slow.  She already deleted it from her direct tv.

liveonearth: (critter 2)

Don't forget: We live during the least violent time in all of recorded human history. We have done this by abandoning tribalism and embracing the, cosmically speaking, very new ideas of compassion and empathy. What we are seeing are the death throws of an old morality, where honor and vengeance and the death you could inflict were how you judged yourself as a person.

So the proper response to a terrorist attack shouldn't be hate or bloodlust, but pity; pity for a group actively choosing to be forgotten and disregarded by the long eye of history.

--Keegan Blackler

liveonearth: (moon)
Just finished this novel last night.  I don't read a lot of novels, but I have a few on my shelf which have always come to me strongly recommended by someone I trust.  I don't remember who gave me this one.  It might have been B.  She is very much into all things native.

The book is excellent.  It also was a 1984 bestseller and got a book critics circle award for fiction.  It was Erdrich's first novel, and I am sure that many of the subplots in it are bits and pieces from her upbringing as a half-Chippewa in North Dakota.

What strikes me about it, first, is the variety of perspectives the author is able to take.  She writes from first and third person perspectives of male and female characters, young and old.  She takes a hard look at alcoholism, and PTSD, at our legal system, at the rivalries and drama of siblings and marriages and humanity.  In the end I was lifted by her compassion, by knowing that there is a person out there who sees the love inside of troubled people and can write about it.

The book tells tales on Lulu Lamartine throughout the book, but you don't get to hear about the world from her point of view until the very end.  I liked Lulu, and many of the other characters.  Lulu took pleasure in life, in men, in her many sons.  She saw the beauty in things.  She forgave.  She kept her secrets.  There are those who would judge her for her sexuality, but there were many in the tribe that didn't, because they participated in it.

Another striking thing about this book is the way the stories unfold over time as each chapter tells another point of view.  The stories gradually work from long past to present, but sometimes in the present the truth is buried, instead of revealed.  Other stories come to light and make a difference for someone.  One of the most basic stories is that of a person's origins.  Who are your parents?  Where did you come from?  Do you know?  In a world full of illegitimate children, it's not a given.

I have a copy here to give away.  I recommend it.  
liveonearth: (moon)
May the Infinite Light of Wisdom and Compassion so shine within us that the
errors and vanities of self may be dispelled; so shall we understand the changing nature of
existence and awaken into spiritual peace.

--Unknown
liveonearth: (blue mountain painting)
If
your compassion
does not include
yourself,
it is incomplete.


~ Jack Kornfield
liveonearth: (moon)
In the end, only three things matter:
how much you loved, how gently you lived,
and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.


--attributed to the Buddha,
and paraphrased by many
liveonearth: (key to my heart)
If you're really listening,
if you're awake to the poignant beauty of the world,
your heart breaks regularly.
In fact, your heart is made to break;
its purpose is to burst open again and again
so that it can hold evermore wonders.

--Andrew Harvey

Keep Going

Jan. 9th, 2014 12:02 pm
liveonearth: (peace sign)
Never Give Up
Wednesday 26 December 2007, by HH the XIV Dalai Lama
poem )
liveonearth: (key to my heart)
Love me
when I least deserve it,
because that’s when
I really need it.

--Swedish proverb
liveonearth: (blue mountain painting)
Kindness
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
liveonearth: (Default)

May all sentient beings be free from suffering and the root of suffering.
--some Buddhist of course
liveonearth: (Default)
This was so good I'm going to listen to it again:
liveonearth: (Default)
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be,
and you help them become what they are capable of being.

--Goethe

QotD: Love

Mar. 16th, 2011 01:06 pm
liveonearth: (Lillies)
Love is manifest where there is an able vessel.
~Bhakti Narada Sutras

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