Death Throes of Patriarchy, Birth of New Consciousness
Mythologically, what is happening in our country and beyond at this time, is the betrayal of the deep feminine. By contrast, at the pipeline in South Dakota each morning, young Native American women do ritual honoring water and earth. This betrayal of the deep feminine is nothing new but it is in profound contrast to the vision and message of the Good News of Jesus from two thousand years ago. Our culture, including institutional religious culture, continues to ignore the ancient and mystical wisdom which cries out that we are ONE and that the diversity we experience is not a drawback but rather, rich ground for deeper gratitude and appreciation. We are stuck in our preoccupation with security, our reliance on weapons and winning. Even our sports have been and continue to be charged with the language of war. What are we to do? Whatever we do outwardly needs to be grounded in daily, personal spiritual practice, grounded in love, gratitude, compassion and forgiveness. We are desperately in need of integration of the masculine and feminine energies, an integration embedded in the gematria tradition as found in the Synoptic Gospels. Gematria is the intentional crafting of words whose Greek letters have specific numerical value which, when added together, are known to hold a particular significance. The sums for the word “mustard seed” in the Greek text of the Synoptic Gospels means integration of masculine and feminine energies. This vision is clearly realized in the Jesus story. Today we continue on the path of destruction by out-of-balance masculine energy. What makes this energy so dangerous and deceptive is the appeal to fear…fear which is unreasonable. Fear, then, justifies violence in many forms.
Charlottesville, Virginia has laid bare the death throes of patriarchy: entitled white males, desperate and driven to violence, throttled by the terror of losing control [many following the Jesus on the hill calmly looking over Jerusalem with an AK47 resting on his lap]. By contrast, rising consciousness across the nation came in swift response to a dying dream of control through “Power over!” But death throes are not pretty and no one knows how long they will last. In so many ways we are a nation long committed to violence, to clinging to control, to securing the growing gap between wealth and squalor. This is a scary time. We do not know what will happen. What will we do as people who claim to be followers of the non-violent Jesus, the suffering servant, calling us to let go of results and stay committed to liberty and justice for ALL, no matter what the consequences for us personally?
In Seeds of Contemplation, Merton wrote: “At the root of all war is fear.”
In the wake of the various and ongoing terrorist attacks around the world our collective fear in the United States, unlike responses in some other nations, has reached new heights. This collective fear is further exacerbated by the political situation, churning our already high level of obsession with security.
Let’s look at the actual comparative danger of externally generated terrorism. Let’s stand back for some sane perspective on our situation. We are as likely to be killed by a terrorist attack as we are of being killed by a piece of falling furniture. We are far, far more likely to be killed in an auto accident, by a heart attack, cancer, or a medical mistake than we are by an externally generated terrorist attack!
The alarming number of shooting incidents in Chicago and elsewhere are not connected in any way to externally generated terrorism, but people are just as dead and just as injured.
The continuing rise of the Alt-Right is not in any way connected to externally generated terrorism.
What does this obsessive and intentionally stoked fear of externally generated terrorist attacks as well as internally generated hatred and violence, tell us about what our minds do, both individually and collectively?
Getting into a car is dangerous, yet for the most part we are not afraid of getting into a car. Observation reveals that this danger increases as many people drive too fast, drive while impaired by alcohol, drugs, fatigue, dialing, talking, answering the phone and texting. Insurance rates will spike but most of this gadget related potentially lethal behavior is legal! Still, in light of these common observations, we are not afraid to travel by car. So, why do we experience great fear of happenings which are possible but far less likely, such as terrorist attacks, while we experience little or no fear of things which are statistically far more likely and take place around us continuously?
Clearly it is about the mind, the weight or lack thereof which we give unconsciously to the stories we tell ourselves or which other people tell us, especially “power figures.” It is about what stories we choose to believe, choose to assign more weight. Is ignoring the evidence rational, logical? Surely not! Of course, it happens unconsciously—in other words, We Are Asleep! What can we do about this irrational mental pattern and move toward a more tranquil way of living? We need to awaken, become more intentionally aware, more realistic. We do live in midst of danger from many sources, whether natural, humanly generated, with or without intent. But we do not need to live in constant fear, paralyzed by obsessing over our security. We need to accept what is when there is nothing we can do about it. When there is something we can do about it, then we need to take action!
It is not fruitful, in fact it is counter-productive, to use critically needed energy by blaming somebody else for the way things are. We need to look at ourselves to determine whether and how we may be part of the problem, whether we do the very things we easily blame on others. For example our national collective ego points to Isis sponsored terrorism. It is true. Isis does sponsor terrorism. A look at our own national history, however, shows that we also sponsor terrorism (usually in the name of “national security”).
1 – Seventy two years ago the US Marines bombed Guatemala City to oust democratically elected President Arbenz. President Arbenz was repossessing land for his people from the United Fruit Company, in which the US Secretary of State had a family interest---hardly a national security threat. Was this not US sponsored terrorism? 2 – The School of the Americas (currently known by the Pentagon term, Center for Hemispheric Security) based at Fort Benning, Georgia, trains police from various Central American Countries to torture and kill their own people to provide stability benefitting the wealthiest two percent of their populations. Victims: a -- Archbishop Oscar Romero, assassinated during liturgy; b – Four Church Women, raped, murdered and thrown into a grave; c – Six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter, dragged out and shot in the middle of the night at the university of San Salvador….for teaching about justice. -
3 – Killing of peasants by two transnational corporations to further their mining projects in El Salvador…and ever growing profits. Are these not acts of terrorism?
What can we do? The first thing we must do is take ownership of our own nation’s bloody and violent racist past and ongoing treatment of minorities, people of color, native peoples…the Dakota Pipeline…right now; expelling Hispanics indiscriminately, right now; profiling and threatening to expel Muslims, right now. And the reasons given: “National Security!” This fear of The Other has practical consequences. For example, Wright State University, outside Dayton, Ohio, has seen applications from international students plummet by nearly half for the next school year. This same drop has also taken place in other schools around the nation. International students and recent graduates who hope to remain in the US find it extremely difficult to find jobs. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, front page, Saturday, April 1, 2017)
As a nation we need to bring an end to behaviors that feed hatred toward us because of our imperialist self-serving patterns and thus enhance recruiting on the part of terrorist organizations. As people coming awake to the dangers stirring internally, we need to continue to practice and we need to continue to act.
There are at least two opposing options that come to mind: 1. We can go on blaming the violence on others and further engage our obsessive fears of losing our lives and material assets.
2. We can wake up…which happens one person at a time, but which is becoming collective. So if we want different results we need to keep trying something new. Gandhi spoke of being the change we want to see, as well as doing what is right, not because it is successful but because it is right.
What individual behaviors do I need to change? How am I violent? How am I aggressive? How am I exclusive? How am I arrogant? How am I judgmental…toward myself, other people, other living beings, Earth? What are the patterns in my life that show that it is all about me? Step one requires conscious noticing and owning of recurring negative patterns. We cannot do anything different if we do not notice and own. Then we need to work with the material, staying, not avoiding not denying. We do not do this in a judgmental, self-critical, self-condemning way. We just need to notice and own it. With hard work we can change these sometimes deeply engrained responses. This process then becomes the ground on which healing is built, healing not only for ourselves but for others too.
You may already be familiar with a very practical spiritual practice originating in Hawaii. Ho’oponopono – It means “making right.” The true story is that Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, Ph.D., worked as a psychologist at a Hawaiian hospital in a unit for the criminally insane. The staff was constantly changing, staff members were unwilling to enter the unit because it was dangerous. Patients were not improving. Dr. Hew Len, realizing that we are all ONE, that there is no “other”, would become aware that what he saw on the outside could be cleaned on the inside. A possible English rendering might be: I’m sorry I caused your suffering. Please forgive me. Thank you. I Love You. This would be said or chanted over and over and over again, thus cleaning within. During a five year period, the unit staff stabilized, patients got better, were taken off the heavy drugs and eventually released. The unit was closed because the staff was no longer needed. Dr. Hew Len realized that as he cleared within what he saw outside, patients became well. As mentioned above, Dr. Hew Len realized that we are all one, all connected with each other, inter-vibrating with each other. As our wounds, wants, obsessing, unhealthy spontaneous reactions become healed, that healing vibration goes out to others.
[Zero-Wise.com is the website which speaks of this process]
“Zero-Wise means a state of being pure love, thought free, in the present. The Ho’oponopono cleaning process allows direct contact with the divine wisdom, love and inspiration already within each of us. It is achieved when memories replaying as thoughts, fears, and judgements are transmuted to ZERO by Love. It is a state of being which enables us to lead inspired lives.” (from the website)
In these troubled times we have already had occasion to take to the streets. It appears we will have on-going opportunities to do so. The key will be for us to be grounded in love even as we speak a clear and firm No to oppression, injustice, violence in its myriad forms, No to the ignoring of the Statue of Liberty, No to racism, no to ethnic profiling. These times offer the challenge and possibility of a new surge of true unity through civil conversation with people who are different from us, who look differently, think differently, and act differently from us. It is time to vision anew a land which is truly a land of the free and home of the brave, where there is liberty and justice for ALL, not just some privileged, connected, important few.
Jesus said: “Love your enemies.” Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz, in his book, Prayers of the Cosmos: Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus, translates this saying from Jesus’ language, Aramaic. It suggests a process resonant of the Ho’oponopono practice. “From a hidden place, unite with your enemies from the inside fill the inner void (inanity, vacuity) that makes them swell outwardly and fall out of rhythm: instead of progressing step by step, they stop and start harshly, out of step with you. Bring yourself back into rhythm within. Find the movement that mates with theirs—like two lovers creating life from dust. Do this work in secret, so they don’t know. This kind of love creates, it doesn’t emote.” (under-lining mine)
Staying with the Aramaic sayings of Jesus, the second line of the Lord’s Prayer could be rendered: “Help us clear a space inside of busy forgetfulness, so your shining Vibration, your Name, can find a home, a center around which our lives turn.”
Another practice I have found fruitful is from the work of Dr. Donald Pachuta which he terms Effective Prayer. It is another clearing, cleaning process. When we experience obsessive “STUFF,” things that hook us, thoughts, judgements, fear, contentiousness, resentment, anger, etc., we can go to the mantra: “I release all of my fear of….(be as specific as you can) to the light. This is to be repeated exactly for two to three minutes. I have sometimes repeated it for a longer period and found the practice helpful in bringing me to ZERO.
Forgiveness is central to Jesus’ message, even to 70X7….with no conditions. Perhaps we view forgiveness as something purely spiritual, something that takes place without any outward manifestation. Yet, forgiveness actually does have outward manifestation. When you have asked or received forgiveness, you have surely noted that you feel differently and probably that you act differently. We speak of having a load lifted from our shoulders. Forgiveness is another one of those cleaning, clearing practices. We become free of what is burdensome, heavy, slowing us down, maybe even shutting us down…yes, physically. Forgiveness lies at the very heart of justice making and needs to become handy to us in times of such challenge. Forgiveness clears resentment, anger, judgement, etc. Forgiveness, to be effective, needs to be given through the pain of the offense, not side stepping, let alone denying it.
Finally, hearts of love and gratitude are essential to meeting the challenges of injustice and hate. Love and gratitude are energy patterns and, as we experience, are sometimes palpable. The research of Dr. Masaro Emoto on water makes clear that we are talking about manifest energy. When water is exposed to negativity, its crystals are ugly. When it is exposed to positivity, its crystals are beautiful. So the effects are physical! On the hard copy of his book, Messages from Water, Dr. Emoto shows a photo of a beautiful water crystal. Around the crystal the following text appears three times: “Messages from water are telling us to look inside ourselves.” Once again the resonance of work within!
The Jesus vision of “life in abundance” will not be realized without a new spiritual awakening, grounded in committed daily spiritual practice which will empower us to be in this together, for the long haul.
We are FCM, we are not simply individuals. We have greater power together than we do individually. Let us join together as suggested by our FCM President, in spiritual practice. Let us speak out! As each is called, let us act for justice and peace, ever grounded in Love, Gratitude and Compassion. Tom Leonhardt August 2016