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Kingston, NY, Monday, October 5, 2009

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Editor's Note: Friday's article by Judith Gayle didn't make it into the edition, so we're sending it out today. Tomorrow will be the regular Tuesday edition -- the bonus horoscope, which is the last of the October monthly horoscopes. Not sure what I'll send next Tuesday; I'll decide then. -- EFC

Are You Listening?
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Oh, wait -- you've heard that before? Well, I don't want to be accused of plagiarizing from a classic, but ... gosh, doesn't that about sum it up? It's easier to list the bad stuff going on, of course; it makes more noise. And as if we humans don't repeatedly shoot ourselves in our own foot, the planet has rattled us now with a pair of near-8 earthquakes, prompted a tsunami, spun a couple of typhoons, flooded and baked and blown choking dust with her quick-tempered weather patterns, creating discomfort and despair. As the human children have cut their teeth for generations by gnawing away at her, the Mother's doing what many exasperated moms have done -- biting back.

You may have heard, through your spiritual explorations, that life is an Illusion. That we're not the butterfly itself, but the cocooned being that dreams the butterfly's dreams, awaiting growth and release from its chrysalis. That if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, there may be no sound at all without human witness. None of that is provable by 3D standards but it has a certain clarity that appeals to me; and it surely allows us to distance from the locked and loaded density of our experience here. Our lives are bigger than they seem and infinitely more profound than we know; and if this is illusion then perhaps it's time we embraced our transitory nature, certainly impermanence, and realize that this is both a collective experiment in consciousness and a personal journey of awakening; that we're making this up as we go along. You, me. Us.

Our perceived helplessness is no such thing if we stand in our personal power, connected to the Wisdom that can flow into us if we are listening; and isn't that dramatic enough for us to contemplate? As we move through the flickering images of our play-pretend reality, we have an opportunity to bring a Light touch to our daily affairs, yet too often I see the opposite. With a word, a thought, a deed, we make solid that which is fleeting and strap weights the size of Texas on our heels; forgetting our wings entirely. We clutch our density to our breast, insisting it's real; and so, for us, it is. There are some -- children in Palestine or the Congo, for instance -- who can perceive themselves no other way than in the context of all they see around them, destined to replicate the mistakes of their elders unless something extraordinary shakes them awake. But we -- you and me -- we have everything we need at our fingertips to recreate ourselves anew, aware and informed; what are we waiting for?

Do we really need a Jerry Springer smackdown with life in order to know that lower-level consciousness creates a painful tableau of dysfunctionality and that pitting one side against the other only encourages and solidifies emotional dross? That our vicarious pleasure at the witness of bickering and name-calling indicates a kind of self-inflicted wound to our own Soul? Isn't this kind of 'entertainment' the emotional equivalent of Roman games that sent gladiators against one another to a bloody end, and fed Christians to lions? Oh, good times, those ... yes, indeedy! Bread and circuses to lull the great unwashed and keep them diverted away from anything that might actually lift them out of their angry, ego-fed desperation.

similar kind of destruction derby occurred last week in the halls of Congress as our Senators debated and voted on various Public Options for healthcare reform. I chose not to view it; my bullshit-o-meter is too fine-tuned to put my body and senses through the assault. It used to be that our Congressional leaders wove some measure of statesmanship into their profession, misled with a bit of truth and a smidgeon of candor; now they just lie to our face. They no longer sew seeds of doubt, they rabble-rouse; spin great fabricated whoppers and deliver them with contrived outrage and faux-sincerity that is both embarrassing to watch and insulting to our intelligence. I stopped watching this kind of thing when I soured on The Gong Show in the 70s; that was later revealed to be the product of a cocaine binge, while the Senatorial drug of choice is, of course, money/power.

Some of us are listening. I trust this ridiculous pageantry will lead the nation to understand, finally, that we have lost our way in the fine Democratic experiment we call America. If the healthcare debates haven't proven that corporate welfare ... a.k.a. subsidy and tax break and fine print ... is sucking this nation dry of her life's blood, just wait until we begin to discuss energy; you ain't seen nothin' yet. No longer is the old Conservative line -- I've got mine, go get yer own -- the working premise of AmeriCo; it's more like: I've got it all, see what you can find in the crumbs over there. This systemic inequality has become so transparent an assault on life and happiness, that only a fool can stand before it and, any longer, bow to the status quo.

Light bulbs are appearing above the heads of countless Americans as we begin to notice that 'death panels' already exist within insurance carriers that deny treatment for anything and everything. I've even read that some deny for childbirth since conceiving a child is optional; others deny birth control since sex is optional, leading to more childbirth costs they can deny. Makes as much sense as my ex-Governor Matt Blunt (GOP boss-hog Roy's boy) slashing access to Planned Parenthood while decimating funding for poor kids' lunches and healthcare. Sounds like they want us to die in this determined Catch 22, doesn't it? Death panels disguised as healthcare providers already do the very thing the Right accuses the government of plotting. And a Democratic Representative in Florida is catching hell for drawing a similar conclusion. For me, the entirety of the healthcare debate is a moral issue; and those who oppose reform fly in the face of morality.

Let's review a bit more of Mr. Dickens' famous first paragraph, to see if the premise holds:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us."
Yeah -- spot on. I don't know about you, but I am aware, every moment of every day, that we are living in a time of great turmoil, great awakening and great possibility. A season of Light, of Darkness. We seem to notice only the turmoil and the pain; we're focused on what's wrong instead of what's right as that's the way with humankind. If it hurts, it gets our attention; otherwise we sail along, oblivious to our extraordinary blessing. Like many of you, my financial situation is a constant source of distress, my friends and loved ones are facing frightening challenges and discomforting changes, and my worries can overwhelm me if I allow them to. But I would not do myself or anyone else any good if I fell into a coma over my problems, quivering under the specter of dire possibilities. As worrisome as are these wrinkles in the fabric of my life, I have great hope. And prayerfully, I recommend that you cultivate it as well.

Hope has taken a beating in these last months thanks to the Republican disinformation campaign and the impatience of the Left. Obama is the spokesman for hope and he is also the target for all the disenchanted spit-wads we can aim at him. Some Lefty blogs are calling him a betrayer, a chip off the Bush block and ... oh, the horror ... a politician; they split their time between dreams of a Third Party and activism to push forward Progressive causes they approve. The Republican success at disenfranchising hope was only able to take root after years of Progressive battle that led to exhaustion; without a full year in, they've given up on hope, Obama-style -- and while I understand their frustration, it seems all too easy to throw this baby out with the bathwater. Our study of astrology and spiritual thought tells us that there's more going on here than a mere political change. And I can't help but think it's cold over there in the Lefty's disappointed dream of instant gratification and Progressive overdrive.

It's not cold where the Right lives -- they're busy lighting bonfires. Righty website, Newsmax, recently published an article suggesting a 'coup' was brewing inside the military that would take care of the 'Obama problem;' TPM grabbed it before it was scuttled out of sight. Someone on Facebook took a poll to count the numbers of those who want to see the President dead. Stunning! The Secret Service investigated and found that it was posted by a child; a pretty savvy one, to set up vote counting -- and I suspect there are proud End Times parents somewhere out there, relieved that their kid isn't going to be thrown into the slammer but amused and pleased that 'the message' went out so handily. This isn't First Amendment freedom, we're discussing here -- this is screaming FIRE in a crowded theatre. If, like pornography, we 'know it when we see it,' then the Left surely sees the historical dangers of this activity while the Right continues to push the envelope daily and rename it 'patriotism.'

This kind of assault on the Administration ... and the President in particular ... can be tracked back to people like Limbaugh, who insists that the world is "on the brink of destruction," and called Obama's speech to the UN "... a threat that could wipe us out." This is the kind of fuel that feeds a flame of hatred and violence. The kind that leaves a kindly single father, elementary school substitute and cancer survivor -- supplementing his salary as a census taker -- bound naked, his body left hanging in a Kentucky forest; a tag around his neck reading, "FED." This is the stuff of insanity, of merciless fury and ignorance. Not the Illusion I would choose, but there are those who have, and will again as the purge of Darkness bubbles its way up into our collective consciousness.

But no matter how dark it gets, the "spring of hope" continues to inform our "winter of despair." Some might see that thread of hope as fragile, considering the cold facts we all face in this disturbing sociopolitical climate; me, I think it's more hardy than we suppose. In fact, I'm sure of it. That's part and parcel of the signature of hopefulness; it's not some 'empty suit' as the Party of No tried to brand our President, it's a working dynamic that overrides all things that oppose it. It has muscles obstruction can't even imagine.

The cynics tell us that hope is based on wishful thinking and has no legs; but that is a childish version of hopefulness, the kind that prays for a pony or an A on a math test or a date for the prom. That's 'something for nothing' hopefulness. Hope infused with real power is similar to effective prayer that asks, not for things, but for the strength, courage and grace that is required for real accomplishment. Hope based on determination and dedication is not frail. As Obama said at his inauguration, "Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have courage to remake the world as it should be."

Our spiritual/political Movers and Shakers never lost hope, even as they gave their lives so we might claim it; to deny hope would be to deny the movements that they began, the vision of a better world that they shared with us. Martin Luther King told us, "If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream." Gandhi spoke to hope as he encouraged our belief in one another, saying, "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."

Hope is not action; those who wile away their day hoping furtively can attest to that. It seems to me that the higher aspiration of hope is something even more dynamic; it's the spark of love for life's possibilities that propels us forward to take action, to change the world, to lavish upon one another the joy that resides deep within us. Without hope, living would be hellish from start to finish. Even in Buchenwald, hope had not just legs, but open hands as well. As Elie Wiesel concludes, "I have learned two lessons in my life: first, there are no sufficient literary, psychological, or historical answers to human tragedy, only moral ones. Second, just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings." If we do not cultivate hope and spread it generously, we fail not only ourselves but one another.

Here, in this magnificent moment of change and transformation, we have everything before us, yet, as Dickens asserts in his Tale of Two Cities, we have nothing before us. Alrighty, then; as everything breaks down, it is upon us to redesign every bit of it using the tools of compassion and reason and the assistance of our Higher Angels. Surely every new day awaits our hopeful collaboration, our eager cooperation, our loving embrace of every good thing that comes forth in vibration to meet the resonant signal we send before us. With a big dose of hope that puts some bounce in our step and joy in our hearts, we can assert that life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about dancing in the rain.

Although our challenges are specific to our time and place, purposeful creation of our attitude and resonance is as ancient as humankind itself. From the classical Sanskrit, and an author lost to antiquity, we get this wisdom and a perspective of hope's critical role in our wellbeing:
Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of beauty;
For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision;
But today well lived makes
Every yesterday a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!
Here, in these best and worst times, each day is ours to spend, full to brimming with possibility and the magnificent essence of life. If there are storms, we must dance or become mired in the mud. Perhaps our many sorrows and challenges are only the movements within the cocoon that will transform the butterfly; perhaps the trials of our moment are the pangs of the birthing process for something wonderfully new. Our muscular hope, built into the hearts and minds of millions who have felt the rumbling beneath their feet and recognized the energy of Shift, is what informs Arundhati Roy, when she says, "Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."

If life is an Illusion, then we must bring it beyond its current measure; not until we become the harmless creatures we were meant to be shall we have the ability to step away from this repetitive Karmic Wheel. The Shift will bring us closer; our dynamic hopefulness will hasten the Shift. Until it is accomplished, be the hands and feet of hope; of love. They are two parts of a whole, aren't they, one complimenting the other and neither existing alone? The "winter of despair" must give way to the "spring of hope" because that's the natural order of things; even in our own lives, sorrow cannot conquer us completely. We are more than the sum of these emotions; we are the author of them all and, more than we imagine, the keeper of the timeline. So know hope, beloved, let it well up inside you in every moment of your life -- dance in the rain and listen to the music of our new world breathing.

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