Previous info on Law of Attraction has showed the importance of what you think and feel in order to create the life you want. Both are important yet at a deeper layer we need to go beyond surface thoughts and feelings to deeper states of peace from which character qualities are formed. Character in fact is what attracts the best into our life. In this you and the universe are co-creators.
Archive for the ‘News’ Category
Posted in Blogging, Creativity, Culture, Entertainment, General, Life, Life & Death, Media, News, Opinion, Personal, Reflections, Sensationalism, tagged Death, Jackson 5, King of Pop, Legacy, Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson Fans, michael jackson history, michaeljackson, MJ, mj jackson, Pop Music on June 26, 2009 | 3 Comments »
Reflecting on the Life of Michael Jackson is bittersweet experience. On the one hand, his music is full of life and vitality, yet you have an artist whose life becomes increasingly isolated and tormented.
We can look at his life in decades:
60s Talented and adorable singer of the Jackson 5
70s Raw energy and vitality
80s Creative and innovative peak, earning the title “the King of Pop”
90s Increasing isolation and media sensationalism
00s Legal and financial controversies overshadowed his music
10s Tragic because he dies in 2009 never making it to the next decade or having a comeback as so many artists do in their later years…..though the music lives on.
The controversies may also live on given our obsession with rumours but I hope the music is what is remembered most and we leave aside looking at a life gone suddenly as voyeurs.
One idea that I’ve had given the debt Michael has supposedly accumulated along with the fact that MJ never got to do the planned comeback tour. I suggest that the tour continue as a remembrance of the King of Pop with performances by musicians who have a connection with him and want to honour him. Some or most of the proceeds can pay the debts, set a fund for his children and help pay for the cost of the concerts.
I have no idea how plausible this idea is but if Band Aid can be done, then maybe this is also possible with enough committed people who want to do it.
Posted in Christianity, Civil Rights, Compassion, Connectedness, General, Healing, History, Life, Love, Martin Luther King, News, Non violence, Peace, Personal Transformation, Politics, Religion, Themes, Unity, Vision, War on January 16, 2007 | 2 Comments »
Why I Am Opposed to War:
A Time To Break Silence
Excerpts of speech by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.delivered at New
Yorks Riverside Church on April 4, 1967.
Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud:
Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?
Why are you joining the voices of dissent?
Peace and civil rights don’t mix, they say. Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people, they ask.
And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.
Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I and others, have been waging in America.
A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor both black and white through the Poverty Program. Then came the build-up in Vietnam, and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube.
So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such. It became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population.
My third reason grows out of my experience in the ghettos of the North. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems.
But, they asked, what about Vietnam?
They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home. I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, my own government. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read “Vietnam.”
In 1957, when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed from the shackles they still wear.
Another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964. I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission, a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for the “brotherhood of man.” This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ.
To me, the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war.
Washingtons Regime Change in Vietnam
The Vietnamese proclaimed their independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its re-conquest of her former colony.
Before the end of the war, we were meeting 80 percent of the French war costs. After the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho Chi Minh should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not “ready” for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long.
The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by increasing numbers of US troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers destroy their precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least 20 casualties from American firepower for each Viet Cong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children.
Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and non-violence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know of his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
The Lies that Lead the US to War
It must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreements. They remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands. Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the President claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North.
We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for our troops must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create a hell for the poor.
I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam and the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of her people.
We must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed. Meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.
A Far Deeper Malady
The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing clergy, and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. We will be marching and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.
In 1957, a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of US military “advisors” in Venezuela. The need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.
The words of John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and America Needs a Revolution of Values
True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: This is not just.”
It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.”
The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.”
This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from re-ordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.
Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are the days that demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must, with positive action, seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.
These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wombs of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before.
We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.
If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
Let us re-dedicate ourselves to the long and bitter but beautiful struggle for a new world. Our brothers wait eagerly for our response. The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.
Posted in Buddhism, Buddhist, Christianity, Christians, Compassion, Forgiveness, General, Iraq, Islam, Jews, Judaism, Life, Life & Death, Love, Muslims, News, Non violence, Religion, Sikhism, Sikhs, Spiritual Symbolism, Thoughts, War on January 3, 2007 | 10 Comments »
Most world religions include teachings on forgiveness, which provide guidance for the practice of forgiveness. Here are some examples of forgiveness understood from different traditions:
Forgiveness is a practice for removing unhealthy emotions that would otherwise cause harm to our mental well-being. Hatred leaves a lasting effect on our karma (“actions”) and forgiveness creates emotions with a wholesome effect. Buddhism questions the reality of passions that give rise to anger through meditation and insight. After examination, we realize that anger is only an impermanent emotion that we can fully experience and then release.
The basic problem in Buddhist psychology is that emotions like anger and hatred are based on projections and ignorance, not on wisdom and awareness. The elimination of anger is a lengthy process but through mindfulness Buddhism is confident that an individual will realize anger is only temporal like many other mental states.
Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective by the Dalai Lama is a wonderful guide on releasing anger. Here are three Buddhist quotes on the folly of anger:
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else but you are the one who gets burned” — The Buddha
You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.” — The Buddha
“It is natural for the immature to harm others. Getting angry with them is like resenting a fire for burning.” — Shantideva
Wheel of Dharma, Symbolizing the Cycle of Rebirth & Death.
Forgiveness () is viewed as the remedy to anger (). You forgive an offender when aroused by compassion. Compassion generates peace, tranquility, humility and co-operation in human interactions. The act of forgiveness is considered a divine gift, not the work of human agency. Otherwise, pride () would increase when we take personal credit, which would impede our spiritual progress.
Anger is often considered the result of unfulfilled desire. If a person fulfills our desires and wants, we feel love for them but when they impede our desires anger can well up. The ego can easily feel slighted, embarrassed, belittled or in some other way be offended. As we learn to discipline our mind through meditation on the Word, our ego and anger naturally turn to compassion and forgiveness. Since anger and forgiveness are considered opposites, the human mind can only contain one of them at a given time.
Here are some verses from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scriptures, that capture the essence of forgiveness:
“To practice forgiveness is fasting, good conduct and contentment” — Guru Arjan Dev, page 223
“Where there is forgiveness, there God resides — Kabir, page 137
“Dispelled is anger as forgiveness is grasped” –Guru Amar Das, page 233
Ik Onkar symbol of Sikhism. To further understand this symbol read Connectedness in Ik Onkar Symbol.
While Eastern religions take a more psychological view of forgiveness, Abrahamic religions share a distinctly moral view that varies from idealism of Christianity to relative pragmatism of Islam and Judaism:
Ideally a person who has caused harm, needs to sincerely apologize, then the wronged person is religiously bound to forgive. However, even without an apology, forgiveness is considered a pious act (Deot 6:9). Teshuva (, literally “Returning”) is a way of atoning, which requires cessation of harmful act, regret over act, confession and repetence. Yom Kippur is the day of atonement when Jews particularly strive to perform teshuva. Two relevant Jewish quotes on forgiveness:
It is forbidden to be obdurate and not allow yourself to be appeased. On the contrary, one should be easily pacified and find it difficult to become angry. When asked by an offender for forgiveness, one should forgive with a sincere mind and a willing spirit.” — Mishneh Torah, Teshuvah 2:10
“Who takes vengeance or bears a grudge acts like one who, having cut one hand while handling a knife, avenges himself by stabbing the other hand.” — Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 9.4
The Star of Davidd. See Connectedness: Star of David & Sri Yantra for an exploration of its symbolism.
In Christian teachings forgiveness of others plays an important role in spiritual life. The Lord’s Prayer best exemplifies this attitude, notably in these words: ” And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” ( Matthew 6:9-13). The final words uttered by Christ during his suffering reinforce the importance of forgiveness: “”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). We also find instruction to love your enemies and turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:9 & Luke 6:27-31). Another beautiful expression of forgiveness and understanding is St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer:
“Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console. To be understood as to understand. To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. “
The suffering of Christ is a central theme in Christianity. The symbolic aspects of the Cross are explored in Connectedness of Heaven & Earth: Symbolism of Cross & Tree
The word Islam is derived from the Semitic word slm meaning “peace” and forgiveness is a prerequisite for genuine peace. The Quran makes some allowance for violence but only to defend faith, property or life. Still forgiveness is held as the better course of action whenever possible: “They avoid gross sins and vice, and when angered they forgive.” (Quran 42:37). In terms of clemecy, we find this passage: “Although the just penalty for an injustice is an equivalent retribution, those who pardon and maintain righteousness are rewarded by God. He does not love the unjust” (Qur’an 42:40).
The Star & Crescent Moon, which is a recognizable symbol of Islam
Note: Forgiveness is a central theme in our novel NEXUS available online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble & Chapters-Indigo.
This is a response to a blog posted on projectshave.wordpress.com, which unquestionably seemed to accept that a co-relation exists between race & intelligence as measured by IQ tests:
In order for the co-relation between IQ scores and race to be valid, we need to accept the premise that IQ tests reveal a clear genetic basis for differences between “races.” Without a genetic basis racial differences in scores become immaterial, since other variables besides race can account for them. When we think of “races,” our categories are based on social and cultural constructs of alleged divisions based on externally visible traits, particularly skin colour.
For a fuller exploration of racism against blacks, I recommend The White Man’s Burden: Historical Origins of Racism in the United States by Winthrop D. Jordan, which explores the historical origins of race and racism in American society from first contact between Europeans and Africans to enslavement by white slave-owners. It looks at many stereotypes that emerged of blacks as being violent or sexual within the historical context of slavery. Many of these stereotypes still play an important part in our social reality today.
The concept of race as we know it in everyday language is a social fabrication and it is not genetically based. The question of “race” and IQ tests has revolved around intelligence testing of African-Americans. But, can we say that blacks in America are a distinct genetic race? We need to answer “yes” to that question in order to make comparisons between IQ scores and race valid.
Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race by Ashley Montagu is a seminal book that points out that race is largely a social construction and it is not based on biological differences between people. It still remains an informative work on the issue of race from an intellectual perspective.
We assume concepts of race to be inherently true. However, race has no biological basis. It is a cultural term that people use to describe someone’s background based on their own social upbringing where a person’s skin colour has been assigned social value. Biologically human species does not have categories but only variation around the globe. Most of the diversity among human populations, unlike other species, is found at a cultural level, not in physical or anatomical differences. Human beings have adapted to change by developing cultural traditions, while animals have changed their organic structure to respond to their environment over eons.
In human species, according to policy statement by American Anthropological Association: “Human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups. The concept of ‘race’ has no validity.” Biological differences such as in blood types do not follow our commonly accepted categories of race. So “race” biologically speaking is a meaningless term.
Still many North Americans continue to believe in three distinct racial categories based on a division developed in 18th century Europe. Under that division, you have Caucasoids or white, which would include French, Germans, Italians, Palestinians, Poles, Iranians, the English, Indians from Northern India and host of other peoples. Negroid or black, would include Somalians, Nigerians, the San, Ashanti, Masai, Pygmies, Zulu, people from Southern India, and many other groups. Mongoloids or Asian, includes Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Malays, Turks and even American Indians to name just a few.
These categories are arbitrary based on cultural and social factors and they have no basis in biology. We can find as much variation within these supposed “races” as between them. Numerous physical anthropological studies have demonstrated that race has no basis in scientific fact, it is only a product of cultural and social forces at play across the world.
“African-American” like other racial categories has no basis in genetic categorization. In fact, if an African-American genotype exists, it is a conglomerate of other groups including “whites” and “Asians.” Studies have shown that all genetic traits can be traced back to the first human populations in Africa. Therefore, “racial genes” cannot be separated from one another, especially when a person in external appearance may appear “white” or “black” but some of their ancestors may have been black or American Indian.
We are biologically part of the same human family with little variation. The biological variation that we do have, based on such factors as blood types, does not readily match our socially constructed racial categories. So IQ test results cannot be claimed to demonstrate genetic differences between “races,” since socially constructed categories of race are actually being compared in such tests, which do not prove a genetic basis for any apparent difference in scores. The difference also can be the result of social, environmental and cultural factors, as well as, indicative of possible biases within the tests. These factors are difficult if not impossible to isolate, therefore any co-relation made with one variable and IQ test scores is highly tenuous.
Other factors that contribute to variation in IQ test scores cannot be ignored, such as, poverty and labeling by teachers. The Harvard Civil Rights Project is its September 2002 report correlates lack of equal educational opportunities as responsible for racial inequality in testing.
When making comments on issues of race, we need to carefully and honestly examine our own personal biases and prejudices before making uninformed claims. So The category of “race” does not accurately reflect biological populations present in any given area. The uncritical approach apparent in your post is a perfect example of garbage in, garbage out – invalid assumptions invariably lead to wrong conclusions. We have had controversial and inept example of racist language used by Michael Richards, which has highlighted the problem, and an analysis of the concept of “race” and how it influences our thinking is important. Without a careful examination of premises, we risk making stereotypical judgments about people.