Tag Archives: Love

The Descent

So, there it is. A total wipe out.

For now, let’s stop battling and shoring up strategies. Instead of floundering around for certainties, for pockets of hope, let’s accept the invitation into something else. That is, a profound stripping away. The world that was, that we knew, that perhaps we loved, is fast being mutilated. Right now I’m not sure the United States of America will survive. I am not sure the United Kingdom will survive. Neither am I sure Europe or South Africa will survive. Certainly Iraq, Syria, and many other places have not survived. Actually, I’m not sure anything will survive in this age of climate mass extinction and nuclear codes in the … well, you know… the full catastrophe of the small handed one.

So, as we enter into solstice week, the encroaching night at the heart of seasonal shifts, let’s not run from defeat, but welcome its bitter medicine. Let’s taste helplessness, futility, exhaustion, confusion, upset, devastation, pain, abandonment, and the fear of not knowing if we will survive. This, friends, is what many others have felt before, (Chile’s stolen C.I.A election). This, is what many are experiencing in far, far more deadly ways right now (Aleppo.) And this, is what some have gone through with horrific pain and at high speed, (Oakland housing crisis & Ghost Ship fire)

Yes, we can draw together and warm ourselves in like-minded company, but not to exclude the encroaching night, instead to encourage our entry into its deeper teaching. Like therapy, usually we have to feel our deepest wound, the pain of it, before we can begin to circle back into health.

The pain we feel is the removal or our illusory comfort zone where we thought everything was sort of OK. But as everything is not OK, we need the curtains pulled back. Behold, the psychopathic, heartless gaze of the deadly machinery of predator oligarchic colonial capitalism. Behold its decaying, soulless, craven, narcissistic, violent, and ugly face. It’s sheer lack of beauty, grace, sanctity, poetry, love, and wise counsel. This machinery is set to destroy everything for profit and power. Before we can take it on anew, we have to fully get the depth of its utter moral and spiritual bankruptcy. It’s total lack of humanity. We have to FEEL, not just intellectualize. This is so we can really get those already sacrificed to its relentless agenda.

So, we have a new curriculum. One that many marginalized, oppressed, and vilified people have already been schooled in. One that the Indigenous Peoples of Standing Rock know well, which is why so many were pulled to go there, like moths to a glowing light. We needed their courage, their guidance, their deep understanding of sacred resistance for these times.

We will also need everything learnt from our spiritual practice. Ajahn Chah said that practice is preparation for when real challenge arises. That preparation is over. Now is show time. We may not be in perfect shape, we certainly won’t be in perfect shape, but if we undergo the stripping down of this solstice devastation, if we can hold to each breath in order to track this unlit pathway; we will be taken into the sanctuary of our unshakeable, indivisible, brilliantly sane, undying, and loving heart. And it is this true heart that will save us. With this heart, tuned to the deeper intelligence of the Dharma, the spirit, we will be ready for whatever is ahead. Together, we will get through this.

 The Ending of Hope

 Crushing abrupt
tectonic shifting
power
washing away bridges
into chaotic descent.
Ice melt, ocean rise, land erodes,
and certainty makes no sense.

Blind election vortex
schemes twisted thoughts
conspire and distract
within intensifying solar fire.

Yet, between
this thought
and the next,
in that unguarded pause,
hope waits its constant song
where angels soothe
and breathe their shining
along uncertain pathways.

Their voices lilt high
over fields of desolation.
For all times, they say,
we are the holders of your dream.
The whispering seed planted,
the remainder of your journey
through the bleakest watch of night.

So, invoke angels appearing
within this shattering world,
dragging the light
into shadow kings
that march fear along
highways of predator folly
and perpetual toxic news.

But, when even hope vanishes,
and what can’t be won
disturbs our waking nights.
Then, in that ripe hour,
distant bells will summon
our hallowed dissension.
As jaws soften and hands open,
prayer turns to a new dimension.

The movement beyond city voices.
A gentle wind that blows so quiet.
A silent singing from this turning earth.
A calm knowing of life’s worth.

The dream of this fevered longing
will wake us up cold.
There is a knowing within each breath
that keeps this holy world gathered
within spheres of our communion

Here we always are,
moving in the ancient stillness
with fluid steps tracking
our one recurring song.
It echoes across the halls of destruction and creation,
this timeless breath with you, my love.
It’s a long, cold, lonely night.

— Thanissara, Dec 19th, ‘16

angel
The Wounded Angel  by Hugo Simberg, Finland.

 

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From Her Body…..Money, Enslavement, Debt, Extinction, Revolution

A scroll through authentic news outlets is an intense confrontation with a planet in crisis. Like: As Alaska Burns, Anchorage Sets New Records for Heat & Lack of Snow / Corporate Capitalism is the Foundation of Police Brutality and the Prison State / Greek Voters Deliver Stunning Rebuke to Austerity / Mass Extinction: It’s the End of the World as We Know It. Here is something else from the fringe news, fast moving to central awareness, for reality atune-ment (atonement.)

From Her Body….by artist Nona Faustine, who says, “New York has a reputation for being a melting pot, but it also from her bodyhas a strong history of slave trading.” Her photo series, “White Shoes,” calls attention to that history and its enduring legacy. Here is something else for our history lesson, The Atlantic Slave Trade in Two Minutes. You can click on one of the multitude of dots as they fly from Africa toward the Americas and West Indies, and it will show the ships name and flag, (always the flags), and numbers of African slaves on board. The post summarizes, “By the conclusion of the trans-Atlantic slave trade at the end of the 19th century, Europeans had enslaved and transported more than 12.5 million Africans. At least 2 million, historians estimate, didn’t survive the journey.”

Those grand old stately homes we use in Europe for Buddhist retreats; well, just know that we sit in the midst of slave supported comfort… think of that from time to time with each mindful breath of loving kindness. I think of it a lot in South Africa, for obvious reasons, as I move within a country built on the back of black servitude. It’s none too comfortable… I breathe with it and the layerings of deflecting thoughts and reactions, some of which I scribe here. I think of origins when in the USA; to be honest, more recently than when I first arrived in Tennessee in 1992. My fast learning curve, through the layerings, began in 2008 when invited to co-facilitate the consciously diverse CDL4 at Spirit Rock.

To un-peel the layers of what has gone before is part of our awakening curriculum. Because the truth is, what has gone before is woven deeply into what is here right now. I originally thought awakening is to let go of everything from before. But it seems we can’t let go, or really move to a more hopeful future, until we honour a woman, with ill fitting white shoes, standing naked in the middle of Wall Street, attracting our attention to all that such an extraordinary, human art, activism statement, represents.

earth on fireHer Body, the body of Africa, India, Asia, aboriginal Australia and New Zealand – and where people of color were colonized for profit – is now the Earth’s body, plundered to the point of, “you have 20 – 30 years to sort this out – dear human species – otherwise write your last testament, but don’t worry about the will, there’ll be no point.“**

So money… empire…..accumulated wealth from Her Body, and… warp speed on a planet burning to a crisp…into a Greek OXI… the Mother of Democracy says absolutely NO.

NO to… well, pretty much everything it seems, because underlying all human life is the ability to share in our collective resources by means of flighty pieces of paper and lumps of metal, stamped with faces and numbers. That’s fine if you have vaults of money, but a country tyrannized by un-payable debt, an extreme austerity program, and relinquishment of its sovereignty to a remote governing system, is bound to finally revolt. Is this the beginning of a debt unraveling? Because all nation states are now pegged to an unreal debt based economy, which consistently punishes the poor.

imagesIt’s all pretty complicated, but the sight of the Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, after delivering some stunning statements, (I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride), driving off into the sunset on his motorbike, peeks the human spirit. It is just what we all feel; even as EU “suits” cry foul, we root for the guy who kicks ass. Because we know what is really foul; the hijacking of our democracies and rights to a sustainable world by unethical politicians, oligarchs, media barons, banking institutions, wall streeters on crack, and psychopathic corporate agendas.

So, in brief… revolution is the next part of our awakening curriculum, dear friends. This agenda has always been coded into our DNA, because underneath the layerings, which are many, is the reality of a seamless world, divided only by the human propensity for delusion, fear and greed. The veils can part, from such an afflicted history, when we allow ourselves to touch into the truth the Buddha spoke, vimutti sara sabbe dhamma,** “Freedom is the essence of every circumstance.” This is because we are not just the money we have (or more often, don’t have), the job we do, the country we live in, or the color of our skin. Our human spirits will ultimately revolt against injustice and inequity, whether for ourselves or for others, as the truth is we are profoundly inter-woven with each other, and with all life. We are all present in each others awareness.

mandala2-720x400

Thomas Piketty, since writing Capital in the Twenty-First Century, is considered one of the most influential economists in the world. In his enlightening interview with Die Zeit, he challenges the view that Germany and France have behaved better than Greece when it comes to paying off debts. “Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations,” Piketty states.

Piketty calls for a “conference on all Europe’s debt.” But perhaps we need a conference on Global debt. We need to ask what debt is really owed, and to whom. If we consider the foundations of our current capitalist wealth, then, from Her Earth, Enslaved and Genocided Peoples, Killed in Colonial Wars, Body”… then the debt discussion moves from Euros and Dollars to the bodies of billions and the body of our magnificent and abundant Earth.

May we weep for the loss, the terror, the pain, the abuse…may we deeply feel what our lives are built on. May we take the word debt from its power play dynamic, and shift it into acts of recognition, atonement, sharing, redemption, and passionate, careful love.

burning-cosmic-heart

* “The window of opportunity is closing: we have at best only 20 or 30 years left to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent; even better to arrive at 100 percent reduction by 2040.” Bhikkhu Bodhi, Simple and Practical Steps for Mitigating Climate Change.

** A line from the Mula Sutta – ANLV111

When the last tree is cut, when the last river has been poisoned, when the last fish has been caught, then we will find out that we can’t eat money. Cree Prophecy –