Thursday, February 18, 2021

Ebullience

When left in the bowl and allowed to sit, I tend to rise. I just want to keep my heart light, and I spend a little time every day doing just that. 

There's an old African spiritual that sums it up for me: 

You might slip, you might slide, you might 
Stumble and fall by the road side 
But don't you ever let nobody drag your spirit down 
Remember you're walking up to heaven 
Don't let nobody turn you around. 


I especially like Eric Bibb's style of singing it.  Here's a version from Youtube.


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Dream Shadow

I had such an amazing dream.  I was exploring a desert landscape which had these strange, black rubber tree trunks growing out of the soil.  (I can't find a photo to illustrate that; you'll have to use your imagination.)

The trees had no branches or flowers or leaves - just a bendable trunk about three feet high.  And they were very alive and powerful.  In the dream, it was tempting to grasp one of these trunks and bend it and release its power. Because it was raw power, it was easy to use it destructively.  I grasped a trunk and felt that horrible urge traveling through my being.  It was exciting and made my heart beat fast.

I let go of the trunk and came back to a platform on which a group of people were standing, off the desert floor.  The floor seemed to be made of the same kind of black rubber, but it was tamed and used beneficially.

As I stood there with the people, I remarked that now that the evil one had been removed from the landscape, we no longer had anyone to project our own shadow onto, and we must beware of giving into our own evil or the destructive side of our nature.

So, when I woke up, I thought, yes.  For several years now, we’ve had this convenient scapegoat (Trump), and now that he’s gone, we must take a look at ourselves and accept our true nature.  No one is completely bad or good.  Not him. Not us. And whatever we may have projected onto him, we need to own in ourselves.

So that's my meditation for today.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Insurrection Reflection

I don’t plan to post this on Facebook. I’m not sure if anybody will read it, as I have very few followers these days, and I’m not even sure if the software works to alert people of a new post. But I need to write this.

I have been in denial. It’s a common reaction, I suppose, to a widespread calamity that can’t immediately be assimilated. While many were glued to their television sets watching the unfolding violence of the assault on the US Capitol last Wednesday, I don’t have TV. I was listening to the radio and they interrupted the program to report on events in D.C. So, it wasn’t as frightening or dramatic for me, but still … when a friend called to tell me what was going on, I still couldn’t quite get my mind around it.

And another friend called me that night and expanded on the possibilities of what could happen if there is a combined inability for police and military to stop more violence from happening. And still, I maintained that we were going to get through this. I believed it was like a poison that needed to get out of our system before we would start to heal.

Days later, watching what has happened, and listening to some of the reactions around the country, and the world, I had lost some of my faith, but I still tried to put this into perspective. We will get past it, I thought. Our country is split. Our country is broken. But not everyone who followed the president’s call to action wanted to commit violence. Not all of his followers have bad intentions.

Seventy-four million people voted for him. Not enough to elect him, but enough to be a force to be reckoned with. But they can’t all be armed militia. Some of them are friends and family whose hearts I know well.

So, I wanted to believe that only a handful of extremists – white supremacists, Nazis, and rioters – had perpetrated these treasonous acts. And the media was finally starting to take responsibility for their culpability in giving the president instant access to a virtual loudspeaker to foment his followers to believe his alternate reality and arm themselves to fight.

And it took five deaths to make them take him seriously. Both rioters and police have fallen – a symbol of our divided state – both suffering equally. This was not a game where somebody could win and somebody else could lose, and then shake hands and go home. That was clear from the president’s refusal to accept that he lost the election fair and square. And deaths were the result.

Twitter blocked him permanently. Facebook blocked him until he goes out of office next week. Snapchat and Instagram blocked him. Some of the most dangerous websites are being blocked. And slowly they are also removing incendiary posts from their users and disabling their accounts.

But this morning, one statistic made me stop. Twitter has disabled 70,000 accounts. That is a huge number. It doesn’t even include people not on Twitter. It doesn’t include people without internet.

Even if some of those are mindless bots, that’s a lot of anger and dissatisfaction – DANGEROUS anger that can erupt in violence and – in extreme form – civil war.

So, our country is broken. As I knew. But healing it isn’t just going to take a long time, as I thought. It might not happen. We might stay broken. And this is the first time I have believed that even possible.

I convey my apologies to my friends who tried to convince me of the intensity of our emergency. You are right. We are in a perilous situation. One thing I do believe. We all love our country, except for those who just wanted a selfie in a costume, holding a gun or a confederate flag.

Any of my friends can tell you that I’m relentlessly optimistic. I always say, don’t be afraid or worry too much about the future. Whatever happens, you’ll be able to deal with it – you’ll find a way because you have no other choice. But what if there’s no good strategy? What if we’re doomed to fail? Of course, fear and worry still don’t help. I will still try to calm my mind and help anyone else looking for techniques to do so. But I’m no longer in denial.

At this point, we are just taking one day at a time. I do love my country, the birthplace of Chief Joseph, Woody Guthrie, Shirley Chisholm, William Faulkner, Emily Dickinson, Ursula LeGuin and Mississippi John Hurt. And millions of others too numerous to list. Let us not forget that diversity is sewn into the very fabric of our nation, and somehow even this torturous split has the innate thread of unity.