The Presidents News Conference


I watched President Obama’s news conference last night. Afterward I flipped around and listened to the pundits, both positive and negative.

I didn’t think the President was angry when he responded to a follow-up question from CNN on what took him so long to publicly react to the AIG bonuses. I thought Obama was direct in his answer. He said he wanted to think about his reaction before he spoke publicly. A CNN pundit thought he was angry in that comment. I think CNN was looking for something that wasn’t there.

I also didn’t think Obama was on the defensive from what is called a usually supportive press. I’ve never seen the press collectively supportive of anything. There is too much diversity and competitiveness in the ranks for any consensus. Each and every press questioner would like his or her question to be the headline the next day. It validates their pay grade and purpose.

Before any of us can say Obama was great and brilliant or he was lecturing and didactic, we need to remember that news conferences are all for show and all of us are participants because we watch and wonder.

It’s a one act play in which all of us are both players and audience at the same time. Since we don’t know the lines it becomes an improv drama in which we validate or castigate the statements we hear based upon our level of understanding and our knowledge of what is real or better yet what we think is real and what we think we know. But let’s be truthful, most times we don’t know what is really real and we know far less than we think we do.

Why is that? Political obfuscation comes to mind and so does the fact that we the people don’t take the time to read, research or intellectually understand the global ramifications of even a simple Presidential decision. Unfortunately, we rely on others to do our thinking for us. We are visceral people. We vote, think and react on emotion and we forget intellect and reason just as easily as we cast aside ethics and morality if it suits us.

Every President has an agenda and it behooves them to glean support in any way they can. President Reagan used charm. President Bush used fear. President Obama is using intellect and logic. Maybe some day plain truth will be the norm.

Music


Music is the wonder-filled vibration of the Universe.

Do we really know the importance and tonality of music in our lives? If there were no music would we invent a rhythm to correspond with our being? I think so!

All music is vibrational grace. What matters individually is that the collated vibration of the composition, the song, the melody, the tune, resonates in a harmonic tonality with us. When it does resonate, it is amplified back to the heart in an awesome appreciation of a universal Presence.

Music is the tonal breath of harmonic awareness and it is different for each individual. It can be a single sustained note that affects us. It can be a chord, either a dominant or a diminished one, but it must be a harmonic of our being in all its variations. Then we not only feel and hear the music, but we are it for the moments of connection.

How else can you describe the joy of classical music for some and the abhorrence of it by others? How else can the twang and story of folk tunes and country songs reverberate within some and distance others with distaste. Music must vibrate in unison with our spirit. If we feel nothing then the music’s vibration belongs to somebody else’s appreciation.

Music in all its forms is a divine resonance and the limitless variation of All That Is. It is the sound of the universe differentiated into specific pleasure. It is the tonal balance of the spheres.
It is the sentient tonality and emotion of being as tones vibrate with and in the essence of our soul.

Have you even listened to a melody and it was you in the intimacy of recognition? You grabbed it. It held you and it was yours forever. It became your song and the perennial invocation of conscious emotion every time you heard it.

Musical vibration in all its finite varieties and glamorous harmonics hold us in an invisible embrace. Tonality and its root vibrations reminds us of the Source so that in our forgetfulness of daily life we might choose to remember that material existence is temporary. Life, as we know it is experiential and designed only for spiritual growth resulting in the evolutionary At-One-Ment with the Source.

Where did all that come from? Have a musical day.

Courtesy and Manners


I think it’s time to talk about courtesy and manners again.

I may be old. OK, I know I’m older, but not old in the sense of adelpated, at least not yet. I admit to being old fashioned, but submit that it is still appropriate when it comes to etiquette.

I know I’m cranky off and on, but aren’t we all from time to time?

I do admit to being a stickler when it comes to courtesy and manners. Here’s what I still do: When waking with a lady on the street, I walk on the outside because that’s what my Dad said a gentlemen should do.

I open doors for a lady. I precede a lady down a staircase. I offer to lift a heavy object. I offer my seat. I hold her chair. I hold her coat. I open her car door and if circumstances provide it, I walk her to her door. These are things I was taught to do as a young man.

When it comes to manners I am also old fashioned. No, not old fashioned, I am right. No elbows on the table, break bread before buttering, forks on the left and knife and spoon on the right with the edge of the knife pointing toward the plate and the spoon on the outside. Don’t smack your lips and don’t start eating until everyone is served and don’t clear the table until everyone is done.

I know to say excuse me when I leave the table. I know to serve from the left and so on.

Here’s what I’ve noticed recently among the young.

A young dinner guest leaving his napkin on the table even after I quietly suggested it goes on the lap.

Parents not disciplining their children and teaching them to use their inside voices in a quiet public area.

Foul language and behavior in public.

Dressing suggestive and inappropriate besides looking sloppy and dumpy.

Cell phone rudeness. Loud conversation that annoys, disturbs and offends all in proximity.

Did I mention cell phone rudeness? Good.

Dogma


A special Sunday Post.

Here is a blogger’s story out of Brazil. It is indicative of the Catholic Church’s role in our global society today.

“A 9-year-old girl several times raped and made pregnant by her stepfather was guaranteed the right to have an abortion legally in Brazil. After the operation, the Roman Catholic Church excommunicated the mother, the doctor and the whole medical team responsible for the operation.”

Let me state at the outset I was raised Catholic. I had a devout Irish Catholic Mother and a convert Father. Through the years I have been involved in Catholic issues and programs and although I am now a non-practicing Catholic I still consider my Catholic foundation as a valid base upon which to disagree with the tenants, operation, edicts and dogmatic reasoning of the central Church of Rome.

Global Catholicism today is fear based, not love based as exemplified by the living Christ of two thousand years ago. I suspect that some in the church’s hierarchy years ago and others who sustain it today, secretly acknowledged that fear of hell’s condemnation attracts more alms to the church than love does in releasing the fictitious bondage of eternal fire.

The Catholic Church has a history of apologies where intellect and science conflicted with primitive church doctrine. People were killed, executed, and excommunicated because the church’s hierarchy was mired in the arrogance of false belief.

In my view, Catholicism has forgotten spirituality and what they think they do remember of it they confuse with dogma.

The word Dogma comes from the Greek and its root meaning is “opinion”. Its root word “Dokein” means “to seem good”. So when people say religious dogma, they are really saying, “religious opinion that seems good”. To me, “seeming good” and the knowing awareness derived through a direct experience of God, are not the same.

Centuries of non-spiritual ritual and adherence to man-made rules give credence to doctrine, not necessarily to Truth. Even the early Christians were cautioned about dogma in the Gospel of Mark – Chapter 7 – Verse 7. “…In vein do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”.

To some religious authorities, an experiential truth, a gnosis, a Divine revelation that may result from an improvisational prayer or mediation is discouraged and discounted. History is filled with stories of inspired individuals, mystics, and saints, who have come in conflict with authority over an inner knowing or a scientific proof versus a system of rigid principles. Galileo, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Kabir, and Thoreau are examples.

A direct communication with God cannot be proven; it can only be experienced. Enlightenment, however it is experienced, will always disempower dogma and thus render mystics unacceptable to religious authorities.

A modern example was the conflict between the Vatican and then Dominican scholar, author and lecturer, Dr. Matthew Fox. His enlightenment led him to preach and write about creation spirituality, a positive view of humankind’s inter-relationship with God, rather than the Catholic Church dogma of redemption spirituality, a view whereby human beings are born sinful.

Fox was first silenced by the Vatican, and then asked to leave the Dominican Order and the Catholic priesthood and he is now an Episcopalian scholar. The church leader who silenced Fox was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict the 16th.

Back to the little girl in Brazil. The blog by Carlos Dutra states:

“The nine year old complained to her mother of severe stomach pains. They went together to a health unit, where they discovered the girl was 15-weeks pregnant, expecting twins. Only then, the girl confessed to her mother that her stepfather had been raping her and her older sister, aged 14, for the last 3 years. The stepfather has been detained and has admitted sexually abusing the girl since she was 6 years old.

After much opposition from the Catholic Church, a legal abortion was performed by a medical team. Brazilian law bans abortion except in cases of rape (up to the twentieth week of pregnancy), and when there is risk of death for the mother. Her case ticked all the boxes.
Nevertheless, the case has led to a social battle involving the Roman Catholic Church and the judiciary: supported by the Vatican, the archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Dom José Cardoso Sobrinho, excommunicated the mother, the doctor and the whole medical team responsible for the operation.

The girl was spared, as Catholic Church law says minors are exempt from excommunication. The archbishop, however, did not excommunicate the stepfather, and declared that “a graver act (than rape) is abortion, to eliminate an innocent life.”

Those who believe in a Presence greater than the self rightfully ascribe “Unconditional Love” to the All That Is. We fail to acknowledge our own divinity when we judge.