WHAT ONE PERSON CAN ACCOMPLISH

2 08 2014

youngstephenStephen Gaskin, who was my first spiritual teacher, died last month.  I want to take this opportunity to appreciate the man and his work.

Perhaps the first thing is to clarify is what I’m talking about when I say “spiritual teacher.,” and why I have chosen to let Stephen, and others, play that role in my life.

Let’s consider basketball.  If you really like to play basketball, you don’t just shoot hoops in your driveway.  You get together with other people who want to play, and, if you’re really serious, you find a coach, somebody who knows the game well enough to teach it well.  Life is like that.  We all find our teachers, spiritual or not.  If you want to make a lot of money, you might find a mentor who will show you those ropes.  If it’s your perception that the best things in life are not things, and if, for you, unselfishness is more important than selfishness, then you might want to get together with other people who feel that way and find somebody you respect who can show you those ropes.  Christians call that a congregation and a preacher.  Eastern religions call it a sangha and a guru.

That’s what I was looking for when I first went to California in 1968, but, raised as a secular Jew, I didn’t have a name or even a concept for it.  I just knew, when I went to my first Monday Night Class at The Gallery Lounge on the San Francisco State College campus, that I had found what I was looking for, like a drowning man who encounters a piece of flotsam big enough to support him and save his life.

Yes, meeting Stephen saved my life. Just as some people, even when they’re very young, know “I’m not heterosexual,” or “The sex of the body I’m in is not the sex I feel I am,” I grew up feeling that the society I was expected to enter on adulthood was not the society I wanted to live in.  Like many a young sexual misfit, this disconnect was the source of a great deal of anxiety, neurosis, and self-destructive behavior for me.  Connecting with Stephen, his teachings, and the Monday Night Class community that ultimately became The Farm pulled meout of the steep dive my life was in.  Stephen and the Class opened a magic door for me, into a world where I could  have a life, a family, and a community that were more in alignment with the kind of society in which I felt I belonged. The Farm, “Stephen’s family monastery” for all its imperfections, was the best home I ever had, a home I have been trying in vain to recreate ever since the community came unglued in the early 80’s.farm

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BREAKDOWN

2 08 2014

(This is the second chapter of Charles Eisenstein‘s book, “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible.”   MBW_fullI have reproduced the opening and the closing paragraphs.  You can find the whole book here, for free, but please support Charles Eisenstein by buying the book!  Thank you!

 

The kingdom of God is for the broken hearted.”

–Fred Rogers

It is frightening, this transition between worlds, but it is also alluring.  Have you ever gotten addicted to doom-and-gloom websites, logging on every day to read the latest evidence that collapse is coming soon, feeling almost let down when Peak Oil didn’t start in 2005, or the financial system didn’t collapse in 2008? (I’m still worried about Y2K, myself.)  Do you look toward the future with a mixture of dread, yes, but also a kind of positive anticipation?  When a big crisis looms, a superstorm or a financial crisis, is there a part of you that says, “Bring it on” hoping it might free us from our collective entrapment in a system that serves no one (not even its elites)?

……superstorm

We do not have a new story yet.  Each of us is aware of some of its threads, for example in most of the things we call alternative, holistic, or ecological today.  Here and there we see patterns, designs, emerging parts of the fabric.  But the new mythos has not formed. We will abide for a time in the “space between stories.”  It is a very precious–some might say sacred–time.  Then we are in touch with the real.  Each disaster lays bare the reality underneath our stories.  The terror of a child, the grief of a mother, the honesty of not knowing why.  In such moments our dormant humanity awakens as we come to each other’s aid, human to human, and learn who we are.  That’s what keeps happening every time there is a calamity, before the old beliefs, ideologies, and politics take over again.  Now the calamities and contradictions are coming so fast that the story has not enough time to recover.  Such is the birth process into a new story. 

music:  Grateful Dead, “New Speedway Boogie” (first is the studio version, second is gret live footage from a 1970 concert)





FROM THE MAILBAG

2 08 2014

obama-gun-controlI received the following response to my July essay, “The Second Amendment.”  I was in the middle of a lot of other things when I received it, so I published it, gave a brief response, and promised more later.  My comments and responses follow the text of the letter.

Interesting take on the 2nd Amendment. If England would have had better gun control laws then the revolution would have never happened. If England would have taken the rifles from their citizens and allowed only the Soldiers of the Crown to use them, our nation would have never been born.

I find your post, in all honesty, hypocritical. The reason is simple, you speak of how the Farm was brought down by the FBI and the CIA – a shadow government. Yet, you speak of only allowing the government and criminals to own guns – for they are one and the same in many cases. What happens when they come for you?

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THE SECOND AMENDMENT

5 07 2014

obama-gun-control(note: this is an expanded version of a post that originally appeared in my “Holsinger for House” blog.)

 

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  I believe the operative phrase here is “a well regulated Militia.”  Allowing any frightened person in the country to carry a concealed weapon is not “a well-regulated Militia.”  It is the very opposite of “a well regulated Militia.”

The framers of the Constitution included this amendment in part because they had lived through the circumstances that sparked the American Revolution, when British troops attempted to seize Colonial weapons caches at Lexington and Concord.  The framers wanted to decentralize the possession of weapons and ammunition in order to avoid a repeat of this situation.  Weapons were intended for use by “a well-regulated militia.”  The other purpose for these “well-regulated militias” was to assure the slaveholding states that they could maintain a local armed force to keep their slaves, i.e., their African-American population, from rebelling.  While this fear is strangely echoed in the subtext of the debate over gun control, for instance in the “stand your ground” laws that have resulted in the deaths of numerous unarmed African-Americans at the hands of trigger-happy whites, the intent of the Second Amendment was clearly to allow individuals to keep and bear arms for legitimate purposes, not to create a nervous and over-armed citizenry that actually detracts from “the security of a free State.” Firearms are basically high-tech rock throwers.  Imagine a large percentage of the population walking around with a half-dozen or more fist-sized rocks in their possession.   Would that be a desirable state of affairs? Read the rest of this entry »





SEPARATION

5 07 2014

This part of the show is the first chapter of “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible,” by Charles Eisenstein.  Readings from this book will be a regular feature of my monthly slot on The Green Hour until I have read the entire book on the air.  I will continue to link to chapters as I present it, but please buy this book!  Charles will be a featured speaker at the Green Party’s annual meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota July 24-7.  What follows is the opening and closing paragraphs of the first chapter.

Sometimes I feel nostalgic for the cultural mythology of my youth, a world in which there was nothing wrong with soda pop, in which the Super Bowl was important, in which America was bringing democracy to the world, in which the doctor could fix you, in which science was going to make life better and better, and they just put a man on the moon.AmDream-2

Sometimes I feel nostalgic for the cultural mythology of my youth, a world in which there was nothing wrong with soda pop, in which the Super Bowl was important, in which America was bringing democracy to the world, in which the doctor could fix you, in which science was going to make life better and better, and they just put a man on the moon……

I do not offer this book as someone who has completed this transition himself. Far from it. I have no more authority to write this book than any other man or woman. I am not an avatar or a saint, I am not channeling ascended masters or ETs, I have no unusual psychic powers or intellectual genius, I have not passed through any remarkable hardship or ordeal, I have no especially deep spiritual practice or shamanic training. I am an ordinary man. You will, therefore, have to take my words on their own merits.

And if my words fulfill their intention, which is to catalyze a next step, big or small, into the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible, my very ordinariness becomes highly significant. It shows how close we all are, all of us ordinary humans, to a profound transformation of consciousness and being. If I, an ordinary man, can see it, we must be almost there..

James McMurtry, “Twelve O’Clock Whistle

Talking Heads, “Once In A Lifetime

Eliza Gilkyson, “Through the Looking Glass

 





I’M BAAACK!

4 06 2014

MBW_fullThis coming Sunday, June 8, I will return to a monthly slot on The Green Hour on WRFN, Radio Free Nashville,  starting with a “performance,” as it were, of my “Edward Snowden and the Farm.”  I’m not sure if I’ll do both parts or just one.  It depends on how long the reading and music take.  I am also planning to do a “books on the air” presentation of Charles Eisenstein’s “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible,” which I think expresses the long-range Green vision with exceptional clarity.  (That will also save me from having to do as much writing as I used to do for the show!).  Eisenstein will not be my sole stock in trade, of course.  I’m too much of an egotist not to have something to say to the public once a month!  There will also be music, of course.  All words and no music makes for a dull radio show.  The station will soon be expanding its signal strength so that it is audible all over town, and I had intended to wait for that to happen, but one of our programmers has been doing two slots a month and was ready for a break, so, as if I don’t have enough to do already, I’m adding “radio host” to my juggling act.

Another development worth mentioning here is that I am running for the Tennessee House of Representatives, 54th district, as a Green.  To that end, I have started another blog, “Holsinger for House,” where I am concentrating on how the Green paradigm expresses itself on local issues and our current political reality.





SNOWDEN AND THE FARM, PART TWO

21 05 2014

A remarkable number of people have read my “Edward Snowden and The Farm” post, although there has not been a lot of discussion about it on WordPress.  In a way that’s fine with me, because I have been writing and talking about the topic for decades, and grown weary of repeating myself.  Indeed, the only reason I wrote “Edward Snowden and The Farm” was because IT insisted that I write it down.  The piece was more of a download than an act of conscious creation.

The post did evoke the typical Farm responses in a thread on Facebook.  They came from a guy I’ve known for forty-three years, and I wanted to give him my best response, which turned out to be way longer than would reasonably fit in a Facebook thread.  So, here are his remarks, and my response.

He said: the farm changeover was brought about by a vast majority of people whose material needs were not being met period.

Note  “period,” as in, “end of discussion.”  In my experience, his response was pretty representative of the attitude of current Farm residents. He later wrote this:

we’ll have to agree to disagree martin,family’s got to independently make its own decisions about the basics.can’t run around looking for basic footwear forever.it got 2 where the system manipulators thrived.at that point we’re at square 1.people are people no matter what system you’re in,no point tying your hands behind your back.seems like most everyone is happier now.but enough arguing,you feel like your social experiment failed,well it did but the community recovered and became what it needed to become and is thriving.that’s the long answer.

Again, typical. What follows is my long answer to him.

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