Give me the Desert

–by Lyla June Johnston  (Dec 2, 2016)

Destinobus

I am a child of the desert.
Every drop of rain is carefully counted.
Every corn seed is honored and saved.
We are colored by the sun
And shaped by the wind.
The world is a dream you never lose.
Time is counted in lessons,
Not seconds.
The first time you learned to tie your tsiiyeeł.
The first time you learned to love your enemies.
The first time you learned to build fire.
The first time you learned to be kind.
Mountain mix rolled in corn husks gives birth to smoke prayers curling up into the moonlit sky.
A hundred lives lived in this sun-kissed sandy skin.
Like a lizard I bask in the noon’s dry beams.
Like a rock in the wash I am enlivened by the summer monsoon.
Give me no rainforest.
Give me no island.
Give me no tundra.
Give me no ozark and
Give me no everglade.
Give me the desert
And I will be satisfied.
Every drop of rain counted.
Every corn seed honored and saved.
Every wildflower blossom earned by hard work, and faith, and the mercy of the rain.

Lyla June Johnston. For more please visit Sodizin.   [Illustration offered as an anonymous gift :-)]

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El Destino está Dentro de Nosotr@s / Destiny is Within Us

–por Hawah Kasat (Nov 25, 2016) [English below]

Destinobus

Recuerdo caminar a la parada de autobús un día. El sudor me goteaba por la barbilla, mientras miraba hacia el metal descolorido de la señal de parada de autobús a una manzana de distancia. Vi a un corrillo no organizado de cuerpos. Unos pocos sentados en el banco de madera, mirando a través del plexiglás nebuloso de la marquesina. Miré el reloj y me di cuenta de que iba con tiempo. El autobús tardaría por lo menos cinco minutos más.

En ese instante, oí grandes neumáticos rodando detrás de mí, el sonido perforado en un embrague maniobrando en el suelo, el temblor de las ventanas cuando los neumáticos se sumergieron en un pequeño bache. Rápidamente volví la cabeza y vi el autobús. No había tráfico para que redujese la velocidad. Estaba como a una manzana de distancia y atrapado entre dos opciones fatídicas.

La primera opción quedarme allí y entregar mi destino del universo. Podría repetirme a mí mismo: “Oh, bueno. Creo que el universo no quería que yo cogiese el autobús hoy”, y regurgitar el famoso cliché,” supongo que simplemente no tenía que ocurrir”.
La segunda opción ante mí era coger mi bolsa, aferrarme a ella un poco más fuerte, y empezar a correr hasta el bloque. Esta opción no garantizaba que fuese a coger el autobús, pero esto estaba relacionado con mi libre albedrío de modo que no tendría que sentirme resignado.

Contemplando las opciones es a veces la parte más difícil de cualquier día. El universo definitivamente me proporcionó un contexto que hizo que coger el autobús fuese un poco más difícil para mi, y aún así, pude actuar para cambiar la situación. Claro, ese autobús llegó antes de lo previsto, pero mi reacción era la que estaba bajo mi control y la que mi práctica de yoga me ha enseñado. Mi reacción podría haber sido la de echarle la culpa al universo, la de caer en la trampa de “supongo que no estaba destinado a suceder.” O levantar las piernas y echar a correr.

Cada momento de la vida, ponemos en movimiento una serie de momentos sucesivos que en última instancia, dará forma a nuestro futuro. Es mi elección, ya sea a dejar mi destino en manos del universo u optar por cambiar mi conciencia y abrazar el conocimiento de que yo soy el universo. Cuando esto sucede, de lo que antes culpábamos a una entidad externa, o “destino”, es en realidad algo que entendemos como dentro de nosotr@s.

La elección es mía. La decisión es tuya. La elección es nuestra.

Hawah Kasat, pasaje de Awakin.org.   [Ilustración ofrecida como un regalo anónimo :-)] Continue reading

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Finding Balance

–by Ranchor Prime  (Nov 18, 2016)

finding-balance

It is often supposed that humans can get what they want from this world provided they are prepared to work hard enough for it—that with our superior intelligence we can win wealth by exploiting the earth’s resources, while animals can only follow their instincts in the struggle for survival. The ability of humans to exploit their environment is presumed somehow to give us rights over animals and nature. This misconception lies at the root of the expansion of human domination of the planet over the past 500 years.

A different concept is taught by the Vedas [the ancient philosophy of the part of the planet we call India]. This planet and all she produces does not belong to humanity, any more than she belongs to the other species living here. The earth is satisfied when she sees her produce symbolically returned back to its original source….

The traveler in the part of the planet we call India soon learns to appreciate the ancient trees that often grow by the wayside. Planting trees and digging wells have traditionally been the two great acts of charity by which anyone could earn merit and universal appreciation. And therefore trees such as mango, neem, or banyan were planted along the roads to give shelter and shade, their leaves acting as natural air conditioners. Beneath their broad canopies generations of wayfarers, stopping for a rest or a meal, have found relief from the heat.

Sadly these big shade trees along the roads are now becoming rare, but wherever they are found they carry with them a brooding sense of magic and history. They stand as silent symbols of India’s spiritual roots, outposts of the vast forests and jungles that once covered the continent, gave shelter to Rama in his years of exile, and echoed with the sound of Krishna’s flute as he herded the cows.

Sages dwelt in these forests, living simple and austere lives in search of spiritual perfection. Living with them beneath the trees were their students, who could learn the Vedic truths in perfect natural surroundings, reminded in a thousand ways of the all-pervading presence of the Divine….

Scientific knowledge has advanced in many fields in the last 200 years, making it possible for us to manipulate nature and produce material benefits our predecessors could not have dreamed of. However, the Vedic scriptures advise that knowledge of matter, namely science, must be cultivated alongside knowledge of spirit if it is to benefit humanity….

The golden rule of economics has always been: what you take must be returned and whatever you return shall again come back to you. But once the process of production and its technology are removed from the immediate community, it becomes very difficult to sustain this balance, or even to recognize where it might lie. For example, if I cut a tree for fuel, I can plant another one, or better still five more, and in due course I will reap the benefit of my foresight. But how can I know the environmental cost of the energy I consume when it is generated in a huge and distant power station, and how am I to keep my side of the environmental balance, restoring whatever has been taken? I have lost control, and more importantly, I have lost the sense of responsibility—it seems no longer my concern to maintain that balance.

So it is not surprising that humanity has now arrived at a point where we are taking more than we are returning. Or worse still, we are taking goodness from the earth and returning poison; and, as a consequence, we are receiving that very same poison back from the earth.

If we are to resolve the environmental problems that now beset us, we must examine the connection between our environment and our way of life. A way of life does not exist in a vacuum. It is based on a way of thinking, a philosophy of life….

Now that we have left the trees far behind, perhaps we are ready to learn again what those who lived under them—and we—once knew. Only this time, in the words of the poet T. S. Eliot, “the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Ranchor Prime. Selection from Vedic Ecology: Practical Wisdom for Surviving the 21st Century(Mandala Publishing, 2002).   [Illustration offered as an anonymous gift :-)]

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Tomando un Punto de Apoyo / Taking a Stand

–por Lynne Twist (Nov 11, 2016) [English below]

Standing point

Hace más de dos mil años, el matemático Arquímedes dijo, “Dadme un punto de apoyo y moveré el mundo.” Tomar un punto de apoyo es una forma de vivir y de ser que se inspira en un lugar dentro de ti mism@ que es el verdadero corazón de quién eres. Cuando tomas un punto de apoyo encuentras tu lugar en el universo, y tienes la capacidad de mover el mundo.

Los que toman puntos de apoyo han vivido en todas las eras de la historia. Muchos de ellos nunca tuvieron un cargo público, pero cambiaron la historia a través del poder puro, la integridad, y autenticidad de quienes llegaron a ser como resultado del punto de apoyo que tomaron. Los seres humanos extraordinarios como Madre Teresa, la Doctora Jane Goodall, Marion Wright Edelman, el Presidente Nelson Mandela y el Presidente Vaclav Havel vivieron sus vidas desde puntos de apoyo que tomaron y que transcendieron sus identidades o sus opiniones personales.

Cualquiera que tenga el coraje de tomar un punto de apoyo en su vida se une a esos personajes extraordinarios. Puede que no te hagas famos@ ni que ganes el Premio Nobel. Tu trabajo puede estar centrado en criar niños o en cualquier otra labor que contribuya a la evolución de la humanidad. Hagas lo que hagas, tu punto de apoyo te da algo así como autenticidad, poder y claridad.  […]

Cuando has tomado un punto de apoyo para tu vida, ves el mundo como realmente es: extraordinario, ilimitado, con posibilidades infinitas. Y la gente se ve a sí misma a través de tus ojos de forma nueva; se vuelven más auténticos en tu presencia porque saben que les ves como realmente son. La negatividad, la disfunción, la “posicionalidad” empiezan a caer y se sienten “pillados”, oídos, o conocidos.

El Arzobispo Desmond Tutu habla sobre la Comisión para la Verdad y la Reconciliación de Sudáfrica, que él presidía. Durante las sesiones de la comisión, hubo gente que tuvo el coraje de perdonar a la persona que había matado a su hija, o amputado los brazos y piernas de su hijo. Ellos perdonaban atrocidades horribles y emergían por encima del mar de odio yendo a un nuevo lugar donde podían tomar un punto de apoyo para la vida. En la presencia de un punto de apoyo como de los que fuimos testigos en Sudáfrica, la “posicionalidad” se disuelve y la gente encuentra un lugar en sus corazones y almas para el perdón.

Buckminster Fuller una vez dijo, “Cuando descubres la verdad, siempre es bonito, y bonito para todos sin excluir a nadie.” Esto también es verdad en lo referente a tomar un punto de apoyo. Tomar una posición no crea un ambiente de inclusividad y tolerancia, en lugar de eso, crea incluso niveles más altos de afianzamiento, generalmente insistiendo en que para que yo esté en lo cierto, tú tienes que estar equivocad@.

Tomar un punto de apoyo no descarta que tomes una posición. Un@ necesita tomar una posición de vez en cuando para conseguir que se hagan cosas o para decir algo importante. Pero cuando se toma un punto de apoyo, este inspira a todos. Eleva la cualidad del diálogo y engendra integridad, alineamiento y confianza profunda. Tomar un punto de apoyo puede dar forma a la vida y a las acciones de una persona y darle acceso a verdades profundas que pueden fortalecer la emergencia de nuevos paradigmas y un cambio en el curso de la historia.

–Lynne Twist, pasaje de  Awakin.org. [Ilustración ofrecida como un regalo anónimo :-)] Continue reading

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Strong Blessings from the Water Protectors at Standing Rock #WaterIsLife #NoDAPL

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin!  Jai Jagat!

Greetings beloved relatives, satyagrahis citizens of the world!

May this email find you aware of the tremendous force of radical love.

nodapl-horse-armynodapl-girlDisclaimer: I was wisely advised to write a one paragraph email/post to maximize the likelihood for people to actually read it. But my heart of hearts can’t do it. Not in these times where so much misinformation is floating around. Indeed, in times of deception, speaking truth is a (r)evolutionary act. For the sake of our children and our own planetary health, i invite you to go deep into the compassionate understanding and feeling of this humanitarian and Earth crisis happening at Standing Rock. It is a micro-cosmos of the greater picture we are facing as humanity. So, instead of a paragraph, now you have four:

a) Violence,
b) Nonviolence,
c) Media/Support/Petitions and
d) The Heart of the Movement.

Am writing to you this [November 5th, 2016] as am joining the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota relatives (the Sioux people) and other water protectors in North Dakota. After ~7 months of the Standing Rock satyagraha –where violence and nonviolence are escalating more and more– this is the situation:


nodapl-water-protector-macednodapl-millitary-attack2
Violence 

Yesterday’s fresh regenerating summary reminds us of the ongoing  imperialism/colonialism and oppression that the Native American people have experienced for generations: from the largest genocide in the history of humanity; to disrespecting treaties; to rerouting irresponsible pipelines in the age of Global Warming; to illegally jamming their wireless network; to unleashing attacking dogs onto pregnant women and children; to medics been maced, tased and put in cages; to disrespecting and torturing women and other water protectors; to vicious crackdowns and horses and bison been shot by “law enforcement”; to militarized police using armor trucks, bulldozers, sound cannons –that can permanently damage a person’s hearing; to snippers pointing at water protectors armed with only eagle feathers, prayers, and love for the land and water. All this while our Sioux relatives are exercising their dignity and right to be in the land where they have been living in harmony for many generations. People might wonder why it requires militarized police from 7 different states  and how far will they go to put this pipeline on the ground– including using the money of tax payers to compensate the National Guard and former Black Water personnel?

nodapl-medicine-woman-riotgear-cops

These days, there’s a poignant contrast between the violence of the State and corporations and the nonviolence of Water Protectors.

waterislife-nodapl-eldernodapl-feather-riotgear-copsNonviolence
We don’t have a principled nonviolent movement but these signs are very encouraging: from the (nonviolent)victory you haven’t heard; to the growing gift-ecology feeling at the main camp; to very touching prayers –strong compassionate nonviolent statements– that include everyone; to the Standing Rock Medic + Healer Council; to the two brother police officers who recently returned their badges in solidarity with the water protectors; to the fierce love of the women at Standing Rock and their kinship and motherly love; to so many other inspiring efforts that are too powerful to be grasped over the electronland for most of them are behind the scenes and beyond the mind. It is our duty, honor and privilege, as responsible ancestors, to be accountable to future generations by not exacerbating the fractures of our society but to match this heinous violence with our unfathomable nonviolence, courage, compassion and love.

nodapl-wearestrandingstrongMedia/Support/Petitions
Few journalists have been continuously covering the movement –as the (on-the-ground)Unicorn Riot, MSNBC brother Lawrence O’ Donell, the amazing YES! Magazine family– and other independent media reporters have been arrested, maced and –like Democracy Now! sister Amy Goodman– threatened. Now even the United Nations (U.N.) has sent an observer to document the human right violations, after the call of brother David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who took the injustice to the U.N. in Geneva in the part of the Planet we call Switzerland. The heart of these stories have touched artists –like sister Shailene Woodley and brother Mark Ruffalo— to join and even be arrested  in solidarity with the water protectors. And all these efforts have finally broke the ~7-month silence of the main stream media: LA Times, New York Times.  After the strong satyagraha even brother Barack Obama has hinted a “re-route” of the pipeline. We re going to need more than these poor statements and double standards for humanity to overcome Global Warming with dignity. The One Earth Sangha puts it very clearly: it is a moral imperative. There are many ways you can support and also a few petitions around. One of the main website provides you with information to participate. Here’s how to contact the banks funding this irresponsible pipeline, and how to contact people who sent militarized police -including the Obama administration- to Standing Rock.

nodapl-tipi-milkywayThe Heart of the Movement 
Elder LaDonna Bravebull Allard is the founder of the Standing Rock Camp and she says we cannot forget the context (like the Whitestone massacre): “We must remember we are part of a larger story. We are still here. We are still fighting for our lives on our own land.”  In this other video you can feel the depth of the historical and present hurt, so as the intensity of the commitment to be responsible stewards of the land by our indigenous relatives who despite this ongoing physical and cultural genocide, they still are standing strong in love and truth.

Lastly, I leave you with this statement from our dearest brother Dallas Goldtooth from one of his most recent interviews in Democracy Now!:

“A lot of folks know the Ponca leader Casey Camp. She stood in defiance, in peaceful prayer, in front of an armored personnel carrier, because she loved the land and wanted to protect the Missouri River, not just for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, but for all nations and all people and the millions of people who depend on the Missouri River for drinking water. So this movement is not founded out of hate for the police officers or for the workers themselves, but out of love for the land and for all of us as human beings. That’s why we’re there. That’s not—our enemy is not the worker. Our enemy is not the police. It’s the corporations that are hell-bent on poisoning Mother Earth and disconnecting ourselves even further from the sacred integrity of the land and the water.”

Planetizing the movement of the ahimsa/satyagraha (R)evolution from some corner of our round borderless country…
undocumented and unafraid,
love you all! Jai Jagat!
Little Bull (aka pancho)

Standing Rock, North Dakota, Earth, November 5th, 2016

PS: A few months ago, a dear elder and teacher assigned me a spiritual animal that came with a hug, a little figure and a card. Not only i use this card like a bookmark –as am reading and enjoying every bit of sister Kim Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass (Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants) — but also am holding it right now as a powerful reminder of that moment and this movement.  It starts with  two words: Brave + Heart and it reads as follows:

                    Brave                     BISON                       Heart
Like you the bison is a reservoir of stored force that can be tapped anytime. His/her big shoulders are symbolic of a capacity to embrace and hold all life, its burdens and joys. He/she values the ordinary and the transcendent, honors the sacred and enters the storm grounded, and unafraid. Every part of his/her being he/she offers in the spirit of gift, manifesting the true spirit of abundance. As you do. May you graze always in the field of Truth. bison-brave-heart

So when in the middle of (militarized)police brutality using armor trucks, bulldozers, sound cannons –that can permanently damage a person’s hearing–, tear gas, paper spray, shooting rubber bullets– that shot at short rage could be fatal–,  all this against water protectors, elders and medicine people… in the middle of all this, then a herd of bison relatives heard the prayers of people striving for the spark of life and showed up in solidarity. The brothers and sisters in riot/militarized gear had not other choice but to stop.

And even though later, the so called “law enforcement” shot at the bison in an attempt to diffuse the support of all life, this was a powerful reminder that we have cosmic companionship, that The Great Bison Spirit is around and that many of us are responding from this crucial call from all over the Planet, because we are not defending the Earth, we are the Earth defending herself. All the power to the people and love you all beloved relatives! Aho!

Update: When we arrived to Standing Rock, there was an ongoing ceremony to honor young (spirit)runners who just arrived –one of them all the way from Arizona. I walked around the circle in an attempt to find a familiar face. From all the thousands of people in the main camp, the very first people who i recognize was medicine man Jim Miller and medicine woman Alberta Miller! We met several years ago as the story of the Dakota 38+2 was told. Surrender to the mystery of all live and to radical love is going to be the way to flow, because Water Is Life, and All Life Is Sacred! Aho!

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True Humility: Selfless Respect for Reality

–by Costica Bradatan  (Nov 3, 2016)

blessings

From the potential unique location – the site of devastation that we might become – we understand that we are no grander than the rest of the world. Indeed, we are less than most things. The smallest stone we pick up randomly from a riverbed has long preceded us, and will outlive us. Humans are barely existing entities: how can we claim privileges? Fundamentally, we are vulnerable, fragile creatures. And if, unlike the rest of existence, people are endowed with reason, it is this gift of reason that should lead us to understand how modest our place in the Cosmos actually is.

The experience of failure, then, ought to inculcate humility. Rather than a virtue in the narrow sense, humility should be seen, more broadly, as a certain type of insertion into the world, as a way of life. In The Sovereignty of Good (1970), Iris Murdoch came up with one of the best, most economical definitions of humility, which is simply ‘selfless respect for reality’. She thinks that ordinarily people suffer from a poor adjustment to reality (‘our picture of ourselves has become too grand’, we have lost ‘the vision of a reality separate from ourselves’), and it’s one that harms us, above anything else. To reverse the process, to heal, it helps to learn humility, ‘the most difficult and central of all virtues’.

I see three major phases here.

In a first movement, humility presupposes an acknowledgment of our cosmic insignificance. This is something as old as philosophising itself; it is what Yahweh wanted to instill in Job when he asked him: ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the Earth?’ and what the Stoics meant when they recommended ‘the view from above’; what Lady Philosophy sought to teach a terrified-to-death Boethius in his prison cell; or what, more recently, Carl Sagan popularised so well. Embracing our cosmic insignificance is the zero-degree of the human existence – lower than this we cannot go. At this stage, shattered by failure and overwhelmed by the realisation of our fundamental precariousness, we rightly feel ‘crushed’, ‘flattened’, ‘reduced to dust’. Humility, thus, places us where we belong; we are brought back to our naked condition. But this is no small feat: for along with the sense of our own self-importance, we also manage to get rid of that mix of self-deceiving habits and self-flattery, which usually keep us hidden from ourselves.

In a second movement, we realise that, thanks precisely to our being brought ‘to earth’, we are in fact in a better position because we are finally on firm ground. We can now stand on our own feet – we’ve undergone a rebirth of sorts. Importantly, we also realise that there is no degradation at this stage because, by embracing our cosmic insignificance, we’ve come to be true to ourselves. We may be poor, but we are frightfully honest – especially with ourselves. And that’s always the best place to start; wherever we will go from here, it will be progress and a worthwhile journey. Not to say that there is nothing healthier and more refreshing, especially for minds all too frequently pulled up in the air by the force of their own fantasies, than to be drawn back down to earth once in a while. Hardened dreamers undertaking the mud cure are in for a feast.

The third movement is expansive: thanks to having lowered an anchor into the world and regained an existential equilibrium, we can move on to other, bigger things. The dreams now have the necessary ballast to be dreamt properly. At this stage, humility is no longer an impediment, but an enhancement to action; sometimes there is nothing more daring than the act of the humble. In an important sense, then, humility is the opposite of humiliation: there is nothing demeaning or inglorious about it; on the contrary, humility is rejuvenating, enriching, emboldening. If humiliation leaves us paralysed and powerless, humility empowers us greatly. True humility, wrote the rabbi Jonathan Sacks, ‘is one of the most expansive and life-enhancing of all virtues’. What it presupposes is not ‘undervaluing yourself’ but an ‘openness to life’s grandeur’.

Humility in response to an experience of failure, then, is at its core a form of therapy, the beginning of a healing process. Properly digested, failure can be a medicine against pretentiousness, arrogance and hubris. It can get us cured, should we care to try it.

–Costica Bradatan, excerpt from the DailyGood.    [Illustration offered as an anonymous gift :-)]

Posted in ahimsa, anarchism, anarchy, ARTivism, Awakin Oakland, education, fearlessness, gift-economy, meditation, natural philosophy, noncooperation, nonviolence, Peace Army, poetry, satyagraha, Shanti Sena, soulforce, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Bendiciones para l@s Sanadores de la Tierra / Blessings for Earth-Healers

–por Starhawk (Oct 28, 2016) [English below]

blessingsDamos gracias por tod@s aquell@s que se sienten llamad@s, en sus vidas, a sanar y proteger la Tierra, en pequeñas cosas y a lo grande. Bendiciones para l@s que compostan, para l@s jardiner@s, l@s criadores de gusanos y hongos, l@s que preparan los suelos, es@s que limpian las aguas y purifican el aire, tod@s l@s que limpian la suciedad que otros han vertido.

Bendiciones para aquellas y aquellos que defienden a los árboles y plantan árboles, a quienes protegen los bosques y renuevan los bosques. Bendiciones para l@s que previenen la erosión, que restauran el salmón y la pesca, que custodian las hierbas curativas y que conocen la ciencia de las plantas silvestres. Bendiciones para l@s que sanan las ciudades y les dan vida de nuevo con entusiasmo y creatividad y amor. Gratitud y bendiciones para tod@s l@s que se levantan en contra de la codicia, que se arriesgan, a l@s que han sangrado y han sido herid@s, y para aquell@s que han dado sus vidas en el servicio a la Tierra.

Que tod@s l@s sanadores de la Tierra encuentren su curación. Que sean impulsad@s por un amor apasionado por la Tierra. Que conozcan su miedo, pero no sean detenid@s por el miedo. Que sientan su enojo y aún así no sean gobernad@s por la rabia. Que honren su pena, pero no se queden paralizad@s por el dolor. Que puedan transformar el miedo, la rabia y el dolor en la compasión y la inspiración para actuar al servicio de lo que aman. Que encuentren la ayuda, los recursos, el valor, la suerte, la fuerza, el amor, la salud, la alegría que necesitan para hacer el trabajo. Que estén en el lugar adecuado, en el momento oportuno, de la manera correcta. Que den vida a un gran despertar, que abran un oído atento para escuchar la voz de la Tierra, que transformen el desequilibrio en equilibrio, el odio y la codicia al amor. ¡Bendit@s sean las sanadoras y los sanadores de la Tierra!

–Starhawk, pasaje de  El camino de la Tierra. [Ilustración ofrecida como un regalo anónimo :-)] Continue reading

Posted in ahimsa, anarchism, anarchy, ARTivism, astrobiology, Awakin Oakland, education, fearlessness, gift-economy, meditation, natural philosophy, noncooperation, nonviolence, Peace Army, satyagraha, science, Shanti Sena, soulforce, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Way of Harmonizing Energy

–by Mary Stein  (Oct 21, 2016)

persimmonAbout thirty years ago, still a few years from my fiftieth birthday, I read of a martial art that was described as nonviolent, resolving conflict through skillful relationship. It came from [the part of the Planet we call] Japan, where a man named Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) had questioned the destructive purpose of the martial arts he had mastered. He had gone on to transform old techniques in order to create a new art that provided effective self-defense while protecting both the attacker and the defender. He came to call his art aikido, which can be translated as “the way of harmonizing energy.” […]

Under the Persimmon Tree
The founder of aikido came from a well-off family. Short and slight as a youth, Ueshiba built up his body and trained in a number of martial arts, eventually becoming widely respected for his great strength and skill. At the same time he followed a meditative discipline, influenced by the Omoto-kyo, an early 20th century religion derived from ancient Shinto and shamanistic sources and emphasizing a benevolent, spirit-filled world of nature.

Challenged one day by a young naval officer to a duel with wooden swords, Ueshiba opted not to strike the man at all. He simply evaded his attacker’s blows until the officer dropped from exhaustion, not once having touched him. As Ueshiba rested afterward under a persimmon tree in his garden, he felt his body enveloped by a “golden spirit” that sprang up from the earth. He received a vision of the Universe as a divine and living being, a network of vibrations that included and harmonized all seeming oppositions. He realized that he himself was a replica of that greatness, capable likewise of an inner order and harmony. These and other revelations influenced him to turn away from any purpose of inflicting harm in the martial arts.

For Ueshiba, aikido was a meditative art that required an all-round moral effort in its practitioners—both on and off the mat of the training hall. It was meant to influence all the other parts of one’s life and was not to be separated from them. It was not a religion, and he never proselytized for his own faith, but he did believe that aikido provided a serious model for living a life of respect and love for oneself and for all other people—indeed, all other beings. Aikido is now practiced all over the world.

Ueshiba spoke in a new way. He declared that the only enemy lies within, that is, with the fearful, greedy ego. “True victory is self-victory,” he said—victory over the parts of oneself that insist on ruthless defeat of another being. Photographs of him taken toward the end of his life (he lived well into his eighties), show a frail man whose body seems filled with light. From the evidence, his body had also accumulated powerful energy. In his last days he was still able to send his students hurtling into the garden. Such power can be misinterpreted. Though Ueshiba had been known as the strongest man in [the part of the Planet we call] Japan, he carefully pointed out that “the power of the body is always limited.” Something else was needed: “Empty yourself,” he said, “and allow the Divine to function.” Continue reading

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El Descubrimiento y el Delirio / The Discovery and The Delirium

–por Eduardo Galeano (Oct 13, 2016) [English below]

two-spiritEl descubrimiento
En 1492, l@s nativ@s descubrieron que eran indi@s,
descubrieron que vivían en América,
descubrieron que estaban desnud@s,
descubrieron que existía el pecado,
descubrieron que debían obediencia a un rey y a una reina de otro mundo y a un dios de otro cielo,
y que ese dios había inventado la culpa y el vestido
y había mandado que fuera quemado vivo quien adorara al Sol y a la Luna y a la Tierra y a la lluvia que la moja.

El derecho al delirio
¿Qué tal si deliramos por un ratito? ¿Si ejercitamos nuestro todavía no declarado derecho a soñar? ¿Qué tal si clavamos los ojos más allá de la infamia para adivinar otro mundo posible? El aire estará limpio de todo veneno que no provenga de los miedos humanos y de las humanas pasiones;

en las calles, los automóviles serán aplastados por los perros;
la gente no será manejada por el automóvil, ni será programada por el ordenador, ni será comprada por el supermercado, ni será tampoco mirada por el televisor;
el televisor dejará de ser el miembro más importante de la familia y será tratado como la plancha o el lavarropas;

se incorporará a los códigos penales el delito de estupidez, que cometen quienes viven por tener o por ganar, en vez de vivir por vivir nomás, como canta el pájaro sin saber que canta y como juega el niño sin saber que juega;

nadie vivirá para trabajar pero todos trabajarán para vivir;
los economistas no llamarán nivel de vida al nivel de consumo, ni llamarán calidad de vida a la cantidad de cosas;
los cocineros no creerán que a las langostas les encanta que las hiervan vivas;
los historiadores no creerán que a los países les encanta ser invadidos;
los políticos no creerán que a los financieramente pobres les encanta comer promesas;
la solemnidad se dejará de creer que es una virtud, y nadie tomará en serio a nadie que no sea capaz de tomarse el pelo;

la muerte y el dinero perderán sus mágicos poderes y ni por defunción ni por fortuna se convertirá el canalla en virtuoso caballero;
nadie será tratada como heroina, o como tonta, por hacer lo que ella piensa que es correcto en lugar de lo que es conveniente;

en ningún país irán pres@s l@s muchach@s que se nieguen a cumplir el servicio militar, sino l@s que quieran cumplirlo;
el mundo no estará en guerra con la gente financieramente pobre, sino en contra de la pobreza y para asegurar la victoria el complejo industrial militar necesitará abolirse a si mismo;

la comida no será una mercancía, ni la comunicación un negocio, porque la comida y la comunicación son derechos humanos;
nadie morirá de hambre, porque nadie morirá de indigestión;
l@s niñ@s de la calle no serán tratad@s como si fueran basura, porque no habrá niñ@s de la calle;
l@s niñ@s finacieramente ric@s no serán tratad@s como si fueran dinero, porque no habrá niñ@s ric@s;

la educación no será el privilegio de quienes puedan pagarla y la policía no será la maldición de quienes no puedan comprarla;
la justicia y la libertad, hermanas siamesas condenadas a vivir separadas, volverán a juntarse, bien pegaditas, espalda contra espalda;

una mujer, negra, será la presidenta de la parte del Planeta que llamamos Brasil y otra mujer, negra, será presidenta de la parte de la Tierra que llamamos Estados Unidos; una mujer indígena gobernará la parte del planeta que llamamos Guatemala y otra, Perú;
y en la parte de la Tierra que llamamos Argentina, las “locas” de Plaza de Mayo serán un ejemplo de salud mental, porque ellas se negaron a olvidar en los tiempos de la amnesia obligatoria;

la Santa Madre Iglesia corregirá las erratas de las tablas de Moisés, y el sexto mandamiento ordenará festejar el cuerpo;
la Iglesia también dictará otro mandamiento, que se le había olvidado a Dios: “Amarás a la Naturaleza, de la que formas parte”;
serán reforestados los desiertos del mundo y los desiertos del alma;
los desesperados serán esperados y los perdidos serán encontrados porque ellos se desesperaron de tanto esperar y ellos se perdieron por tanto buscar;
seremos compatriotas y contemporáneos de tod@s l@s que tengan voluntad de belleza y voluntad de justicia, hayan nacido donde hayan nacido y hayan vivido cuando hayan vivido, sin que importen ni un poquito las fronteras del mapa o del tiempo;

seremos imperfectos porque la perfección seguirá siendo el aburrido privilegio de los dioses; pero en este mundo, en este mundo chambón y jodido, seremos capaces de vivir cada día como si fuera el primero y cada noche como si fuera la última.

 

–Eduardo Galeano de su libro “Los hijos de los días” y de una entrevista en la TV catalana, el 23 de Mayo del 2011.   [Ilustración ofrecida como un regalo anónimo :-)]


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The Long Person: #WaterIsLife, All Life Is Sacred

–by Linda Hogan  (Oct 06, 2016)

waterislifestandingrock-nodapl-tipi-milkywayWe are singing for water and for the protectors of Earth’s waters. We sing for water. Long-legged birds stand at the edges of lakes and rivers to watch for fish, their nests hidden in the rushes. A doe crosses land and stands guard as her little one drinks. All our brother and sister animals follow their worn paths to needed waters. Trees and plants subsist with the rain, snow, and groundwater in a place where living Earth supported large herds of bison for thousands of years.

As for us, we were water beings from the beginning. We rained from the broken waters of our mothers to enter this world. We drank from our mothers to thrive. Water is our life-blood, and like all creations on this blue planet, we were born to its currents and passages. So we sing for those who pray to protect the wide, long Missouri River on its elemental journey.

Near the Cannonball River, a place of chokecherries, Indiangrass, and other plants, thousands of people are camped. They know that by legal treaty rights the Missouri River and the land of this region belong to the Standing Rock Sioux. Water flows beneath the skin of this Earth body, and vast clear aquifers lie deeper in the near ground, with rivers and tributaries above. The “Plains” may be the wrong word to use for places existing in the midst of all the ground water and watersheds that support life here: animals, birds, food and medicine plants, expanses of wildflowers in the spring and then the harsh, cold seasons of winter. The tall grasses live because of waters from snow and rain.

My own nation, the Chicaza, lived with the Mississippi River throughout much of our long history. We called that wide rush of water The Long Person. She was our Grandmother and supplied everything we needed to survive. With great sorrow, we were removed from our homeland in 1837. We left in order to avoid future genocide. The government [imposed in the part of the Planet we call the U.S.] planned to place all of the tribes into Indian Territory and build a wall around it, opening the rest of the country to settlers. Large numbers of Native peoples were chased toward what is now Oklahoma, but many of the Plains nations managed to remain, avoid capture, and try to return to their beloved homelands.

While many Northern Plains nations escaped life in Oklahoma, continuing actions by the federal government resulted in a shrinking land base for the Dakota and Lakota, including the Dawes Act of 1889, which opened most land for settlers throughout the country. The Fort Laramie Treaty is the only treaty that remains unbroken by the [the part of the Planet we call the]United States. Now it is a corporation breaking the heart of the people, ignoring the treaty rights and the water guaranteed to the Sioux by that 1868 treaty. The state government of North Dakota also has not upheld the treaty and backs the corporation, Energy Transfer Partners/Sunoco.

Most Native peoples and others are hoping the Standing Rock Sioux Nation will hold steady to all their treaty rights to the Missouri River, that the land and water will remain healthy and intact, and that the Dakota Access pipeline will never pass beneath the river nor cross the land in any way (#NoDAPL).

Thousands of water protectors have arrived to show their solidarity. The chiefs and leaders of over 300 tribal nations have appeared to speak of their own concern for the water and land. Others have sent water, money, and supplies. […] Continue reading

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