Looking in the Mirror

Spiritual Revelations for those seeking Humanity in Humans ~~CordieB.

Archive for War

In the Course of One’s Lifetime

Eternal Solitude I, ~CordieB

Eternal Solitude I, ~CordieB

In the course of one’s lifetime

what will one learn?

will one learn of hatred?

what bridges will one burn?

~~~

In the course of one’s lifetime

in the blink of an eye

will one find the answers

to the who, what and why?

~~~

In the course of one’s lifetime

what will one sing?

will one sing a love song?

what gifts will one bring?

~~~

In the course of one’s lifetime

what crafts will one master?

what gods will one serve…

in the mists of disaster?

~~~

In the course of one’s lifetime

What will one fulfill

Will one’s cup flow over

what bridges will one build?

~~~

In the course of one’s lifetime

What heights will one climb?

How far  will one fall?

In the depths of sublime?

~~~

In the course of a lifetime

what will one foresee

when one takes his last breath…

what will one’s thoughts be?

~CordieB.

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Opening lines from Gregory David Robert’s Shantaram:

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when its all you have got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving,can become the story of your life.”

Quote for the Day:  You can be so heavenly bound until you are no earthly good – Dr. Oscar Lane

“In the Course of One’s Life Time ” inspired by  Simply Snicker’s Poetry Prompt.  This weeks words were, climb, course, and craft.  Let us keep Linda and the Midwest, USA, in our prayers, as she and her community have endured natural disasters due to flooding this week.

There Will Be Blood

The Blood Tree, courtesty of ~Ksaad, under a creative commons license

The Blood Tree, courtesty of ~Ksaad, under a creative commons license . Growing veins of sorrow and complications are the seeds that we have sown from our vengeance, hatred, racism, power and craving for more. So long for a cleanse.

There will be blood if we simply look the other way

There will be blood if we continue our lives the same way

There will be blood if the cycle of violence is not forsaken

There will be blood if a life for another life is taken

There will be blood if we continue to fight hatred with hate

There will be blood if we abandon solutions to rehabilitate  rejuvinate

There will be blood if we neglect to teach our young to love

There will be blood if we don’t love our neighbors, inspite of

There will be blood.

There will be more blood.

There wll be an endless,

forever increasing,

cycle of blood. . .

untill…

there is no more blood.

~Written by CordieB

Quote for the Day

Deep inside even the most seemingly evil of beings lies a seed of love; it is that seed we must strive to rejuvinate and  cultivate.  When we hate the evil, we only cultivate more hatred ~CordieB.

Peace, Light and Love… 

Peace Reflects Peace!

Peace Reflects Peace - CordieB Image courtesy of Cordieb.

I was inspired to write the following after reading She Wolf Native’s blog entry today, entitled, "Yes, Virginia, There Can Be Peace! It really woke me up . . . I realized that I spend an enormous amount of time speaking and writing about world peace (and all that it entails). . . that I cause unpeace in those I speak about. . . also. . . I loose sight of my own peace at times.    So for the rest of the day . . . perhaps tomorrow too. . . i’m going to chill!
————————–

Peace . . .

We wave peace signs high in the air;

picking and choosing crosses to bear

pointing fingers at his hatred or her sin

when will we find peace within ?

We hold them and those responsible…

for the world’s dire state of trouble

We spend so much energy on grandeur peace

that peace within has somehow ceased!

Is there peace in arguing ageless points

on wars, religion, do’s and don’ts…?

certainly there’s not peace in the heart of a man

who fights for peace with such disdain . . .

We fight for peace across the sea,

but can’t find peace inside the me!

So righteous we are; so patriotic;

yet our own homes; a mess. . . chaotic…

We’re arguing, fighting for human rights

causing ourselves and others peaceless, sleepless nights…

Let’s for one moment call a truce

Let’s find peace in accepting other’s views

Let us find our peace inside ourselves…

not diminish inner peace; stressing someone else

Perhaps if we all did this more often,

anxiety would lessen; all hearts would soften

It’s time to take a moment’s will..

sit back, relax, exhale and chill…

~By Cordie B.  — Peace Out!

Evil is not your enemy – Part I

I’v been reading "The Book of Secrets" by Deepak Chopra for the past week. I’ve noticed that many of my blog friends have been experiencing spiritual and mental breakdowns so to speak, and there has been an increased discussion of duality, nondualism, oneness, quantum physics, karma, and the like.  Therefore, I thought I’d share a bit of my readings with you.   

Today, II will be sharing Chopra’s writing on Evil.  Just a little food for thought. . . Your comments are most welcomed!

"The most grievous failure of spirituality occurs in the face of evil.   idealistic and loving people who never harm another person finds themselves drawn into the mailstrom of war.  Faiths that preach the existence of one God mount campaigns to kill infidels.  Religions of love devolve into partisan hatred of heretics and those who threaten the faith.  Even if you think you hold the ultimate truth in your hands, there is no guarantee that you will escape from evil.  More violence has occurred in the name of religion than for any other reason.  Hence the bitter aphorism:  God handed down the truth, and the Devil said, "Let me organize it." 

There is also the more subtle failure of passivity–standing by and letting evil have its way.  Perhaps this reflects a secret belief that evil is ultimately more powerful than good.  One of the most spiritual figures in the twentieth century was asked how England should handle the threat of Nazism.  He replied:

I want to fight Nazism without arms.  I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity.  you will invite Herr Hitler and Signore Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possesions.  Let them take of your beautiful island, with your many beautiful buildings.  You will give all these but neither your souls, nor your minds. 

The author of this passage was Mathama Gandhi, and needless to say, his "open letter" to the British was greeted with shock and outrage.  Yet, Gandhi was being true to the principal of Ahimsa, or nonviolence.  He successfuly used passive nonviolence to persuade the British to grant freedom to India, so by refusing to go to war against Hitler–a stand he took throughout World War II–Gandhi was consistent in his spiritual beliefs.  Would Ahimasa really have worked to persuade Hitler, a man who declared that "war is the father of all things?"  The Catholic Church marks as one of its darkest eras the years when it permitted millions of Jews to be killed under Nazism, to the extent that Italian Jews were rounded up within sight of the Vatican windows.

So lets acknowledge that spirituality has already failed on countless occasions to deal with evil.  Turning away from teachings that have only allowed evil to propagate and spread, the one reality opens a new way, because if there is only one reality, evil has no special power and no separate existence.  There is no cosmic Satan to rival God, and even the war between good and evil is only an illusion born of duality.  Ultimately, both good an evil are forms that consciousness can choose to take.  In that sense, evil is no different from good.  There similarity goes back to to the source.  Two babies born on the same day may grow up to commit evil on one hand and good on the other, but as babies it cannot be true that one was created evil.  The potential for right and wrong exists in their consciousness, and as the babies grow up, their consciousness will be shaped by many forces.  These forces are so complex that labeling someone as purely evil makes no sense.  Let me list the forces that shape every newborn child:

  • Parental guidance or the lack of it.
  • The presense of love or its absense.
  • The contex of the whole family.
  • Peer pressrue at school and social pressure throughout life.
  • Personal tendencies and reactions.
  • Indoctrinated beliefs and religious teachings.
  • Karma
  • The tid of history.
  • Role models.
  • Collective consciousness.
  • The appeal of myths, heroes, and ideals.

Every force listed above is influencing your choices and invisibly pushing you into action.  Because reality is tangled up in all these influences, so is evil.  It takes all these forces for evil and good to emerge.  If your childhood hero was Stalin, you won’t perceive the world as you would if your hero was Joan of Arc.  If you are a Protestant, your life would not have been the same under the persecution of the Huguenots as it is in an American suburb today.  Think of a person as a building with hundreds of electrical lines feeding countless messages into it, powering a host of different projects.  Looking at the building, you see it as one thing, a single object standing there.  But its inner life depends on hundreds of signals coming into it. 

So does yours. 

In and of itself, none of the forces feeding into us is evil.  But under this menu of influences, each person makes choices.  I believe that any evil inclination comes down to a choice made in consciousness.  And those seemed to be good when they were made.  This is the central paradox behind evil actions, because with rare exceptions, people who perform evil can trace their motives back to decisions that were the best they could make given the situation.  Children who suffer abuse, for example, frequently wind up as adults abusing their own children.  You would think that they’d be the last ones to resort to family violence, having been its victim.  But in their minds, other, nonviolent, options aren’t available.  The context of abuse, acting on their minds since childhod, is too powerful and overshadows freedom of choice. 

People in different states of awareness won’t share the same difinition of good and bad.  A prime example is the social enslavement of women around the world, which seems totally wrong in the modern world but is fed in may countries by tradition, releigious sanction, social value, and family practices going back for centuries.  Until very recently, even the victims of those forces would see the role of the helpless, obedient, clildlike woman as "good." 

Evil depends completely on one’s level of consciousness. 

You can bring this message home by considering seven different definitions of evil.  Which one do you instinctively agree with?

  1. The worst evil is to hurt someone physically or endanger their survival.
  2. The worst evil is to enslave people economically, depriving them of any chance to succeed and prosper.
  3. The worst evil is to destroy peace and bring about disorder.
  4. The worst evil is to entrap people’s minds.
  5. The worst evil is to destroy beauty, creativity, and the freedom to explore.
  6. The worst evil is often difficult to tell from good, since all of creations is relative.
  7. There is no evil, only shifting patterns in consciosness in an eternal dance. "

Excerpted from The Book of Secrets, Deepak Chopra.

Bring the Boys Home

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I can remember vividly listening to and singing this song so many times as a girl during the Vietnam War.  My brother was over in Nam, and I wished so much that he was back home with us.  Fortunately, he returned after his tours safe and sound, mentally and physically.  But he reminds us so often that there are so many who were not so fortunate.  Today, I would like to replay this song written in the 70’s for our “boys” in Nam and dedicate it to the many young men and woman serving in Iraq.  Bring them back alive!!!!!

Fathers are pleading, lovers are all alone
Mothers are praying-send our sons back home
You marched them away-yes, you did-on ships and planes
To the senseless war, facing death and pain
Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)
Turn the ships around, lay your weapons down
Can’t you see ’em march across the sky, all the soldiers that have died
Tryin’ to get home-can’t you see them tryin’ to get home?
Tryin’ to get home-they’re tryin’ to get home
Cease all fire on the battlefield
Enough men have already been wounded or killed
Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)
Turn the ships around, lay your weapons down
(Mothers, fathers and lovers, can’t you see them)
Oooh, oooh…
Tryin’ to get home-can’t you see them tryin’ to get home?
Oooh, oooh…
Tryin’ to get home-they’re tryin’ to get home

Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)
What they doing over there, now (bring ’em back alive)
When we need them over here, now (bring ’em back alive)
What they doing over there, now (bring ’em back alive)
When we need them over here, now (bring ’em back alive)

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No Small Dreams – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Photo courtesy of DrewMyers and is licenced under Creative Commons

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

As I celebrated the life of Dr. King on yesterday, I remembered  seeing Dr. King’s picture on the front of The Richmond News Leader  as a child, upon his assasination.  Everyone was mourning and crying; some were angered.  I was confused.   I was 4 years old, and it was the first time in my life that I realized I was a black child.  Before this, I had no concept of a difference between black and white people.   I was a child.  Children have no prejudice, unless it is taught.  As God’s Children, we should all strive to be like children in our hearts, for such is the Kingdom of God. 

Yesterday, I also remembered the hopes and dreams of this man, who with love for humanity, purpose and vision, tapped into the conciousness of many Americans and people around the world.  Dr. King’s dreams for racial equality, was not his only dream.  Dr. King was a visionary, a warrior for peace, love, and just simply doing the right thing.  He was a true humanitarian, who spoke his truth, no matter what popular opinion held.  The article below written by Michael Eric Dyson, clearly gives us a broad array of Dr. King’s Dream of people creating and not destroying, working together and not against each other, loving and not hating. 

Peace, Love and Light to all Warriors of the Light in respect for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
~CordieB.

No Small Dreams – By Michael Eric Dyson

As a literary figure, Martin Luther King, Jr., stands as possibly the greatest American rhetorician of the 20th century. As a citizen, his singular contributions to the legacy of American democracy helped this nation realize its political and moral aspirations to an arguably greater extent than any other figure. And while much of the literature about King portrays him as a dreamer intent on rhapsodically transforming America through eloquent speech and writing, in reality he was much more. He was a visionary activist whose disturbing words and courageous deeds cost him his life. It is unfortunate that we have largely frozen King in his “I Have a Dream” stage while neglecting the radical evolution of his later years. Perhaps by revisiting the impressive body of literature King left behind we can come to a deeper understanding of his thoughts and his abiding legacy.

One of the more misunderstood and underappreciated features of King’s mature thought is his skepticism about the earlier methods of social change that he advocated. For the first several years of his career, King was quite optimistic about the possibility that racial inequality could be solved through black struggle and white good will. In The Preacher King, Richard Lischer captures the civil rights leader’s early views in a revealing quotation by King:

“Maybe God has called us here to this hour. Not merely to free ourselves but to free all of our white brothers and save the soul of this nation–We will not ever allow this struggle to become so polarized that it becomes a struggle between black men and white men. We must see the tension in this nation between injustice and justice, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness.”

But during the last three years of his life, King questioned his own understanding of race relations. As King told journalist David Halberstam, “For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions of the society, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire society, a revolution of values.” King also told Halberstam something that he argued in his last book, Trumpet of Conscience: that “most Americans are unconscious racists.” For King, this recognition was not a source of bitterness but a reason to revise his strategy. If one believed that whites basically desired to do the right thing, then a little moral persuasion was sufficient. But if one believed that whites had to be made to behave in the right way, one had to employ substantially more than moral reasoning.

King’s later views on racism were shaped by his move into northern communities in cities like Chicago. King’s open housing marches in Chicago were greeted with what he characterized as the most “hostile and hateful” demonstration of white racism he had ever witnessed, more violent even than Selma or Birmingham. David Garrow, in his book, Bearing the Cross, quotes King as saying that northern whites were practicing “psychological and spiritual genocide,” which was a stunning about-face on his earlier beliefs in the inherent goodness of whites. In Chicago, King openly admitted “I’m tired of marching for something that should have been mine at birth,” and he lamented the loss of America’s will to right its wrongs. In his book Why We Can’t Wait (1964), King made a remarkable statement:

“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the 16th century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population.”

This is not the Martin Luther King, Jr., who is sentimentalized during each holiday celebration. This is certainly not the portrait of King painted by fast-food advertisements that encourage us to recall a man more interested in dreaming than doing, more interested in keeping the peace than bringing a sword.

If King’s later views on persistent, deeply entrenched racism capture his radical legacy, his views on economic inequality are equally challenging. By 1964, King had reached the conclusion that blacks faced “basic social and economic problems that require political reform.” But the vicious nature of northern ghetto poverty in particular convinced King that the best hope for America was the redistribution of wealth. In his 1967 presidential address to the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), entitled “The President’s Address to the Tenth Anniversary Convention” (included in Testament of Hope, a collection of King’s speeches edited by James Washington), King urged his colleagues to fight the problems of the ghetto by organizing their economic and political power. King implored his organization to develop a program that would compel the nation to have a guaranteed annual income and full employment, thus abolishing poverty, and he preached that “the Movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society.” When such a question was raised, one was really “raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth,” and thus, one was “question[ing] the capitalistic economy.” These words mark a profound transformation in King’s thinking.

While King’s radical views on racism and economic inequality were disturbing to many, his views on the Vietnam War were virtually unconscionable to millions of Americans. Although King was initially hesitant about jumping into the fray, his strong antiwar activism proved just how morally and ideologically independent he was. According to Adam Fairclough’s book, To Redeem the Soul of America, by 1965 King had concluded that America’s policy on Vietnam had been, since 1945, “morally and politically wrong.” Despite his views, King’s public criticism of the war was hampered by two factors. First, his evolving radicalism called for an independence from mainstream politics that the bulk of his followers were unlikely to embrace. Second, his open criticism of foreign policy would alienate officials of the federal government on whom blacks depended to protect and extend their civil rights. This double-bind temporarily silenced King’s opposition to the war and made it nearly impossible for him to generate sympathy for antiwar activities in broad segments of the civil rights community, including his own Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

By 1967, King could no longer remain silent about Vietnam. His most famous statement of conscientious objection to the war was entitled A Time to Break Silence. That speech, contained in A Testament of Hope, was delivered at New York’s famed Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, exactly a year before his assassination. After noting the difficulty of “opposing [the] government’s policy, especially in a time of war,” King argued that Vietnam was stealing precious resources from domestic battles against economic suffering and contended that the “Vietnam War [was] an enemy of the poor.”

King’s assault on America as the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” elicited a predictably furious reaction from the White House. The news media was even harsher. In Symbols, the News Magazines and Martin Luther King, Richard Lentz notes that Time magazine had, early in King’s opposition to the war, characterized him as a “drawling bumpkin, so ignorant that he had not read a newspaper in years, who had wandered out of his native haunts and away from his natural calling.” Newsweek columnist Kenneth Crawford attacked King for his “demagoguery” and “reckless distortions of the facts.” The Washington Post said that King’s Riverside speech was a “grave injury” to the civil rights struggle and that King had “diminished his usefulness to this cause, to his country, and to his people.” The New York Times editorialized that King’s speech was a “fusing of two public problems that are distinct and separate” and that King had done a “disservice to both.”

Of course, King’s views would eventually win the day. But King’s willingness to risk his reputation within the civil rights community attests to his notable courage and his commitment to principles of justice and nonviolence. He refused to silence his conscience for the sake of gaining in the polls or winning broader popularity. In fact, as David Levering Lewis points out in King: A Critical Biography, in 1967, for the first time in nearly a decade, King’s name was left off the Gallup Poll’s list of the 10 most admired Americans.

It is easy to forget that King was only 39 years of age when he died. That he helped spark a racial revolution in American society before his assassination in Memphis is a testament to the power of his vision and the grandeur of his words. Not long before he died, King described how he would like to be remembered:

“I’d like someone to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody. l want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe the naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.”

Michael Eric Dyson is an author and a professor of religious studies at DePaul University. His books include, among others, the recently released I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr., Race Rules: Navigating the Color Line, and Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X.

Quotes of Dr. Martin Luther King
Dr. King’s I Have a Dream Speach (Audio)

Dr. King’s I Have a Dream Speach (Video and Text)