Friendship


My thoughts today come from another. They are attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, who apparently wrote them to her circle of friends. This is apparently National Friendship week and her words are being circulated over the Internet. I liked what I read, I trust you will too.

Quote:

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.

Anger is only one letter short of danger. If someone betrays you once, it’s his fault; if he betrays you twice, it’s your fault.

Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
He who looses money, looses much; he who loses a friend, loses much more; he, who loses faith, loses all.

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.
Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.

Friends, you and me, You brought another friend and then there were three. We started our group, our circle of friends and like that circle, there is no beginning or end. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift.”

So are these words.

AIDS


Former President Bill Clinton, when speaking at the Democratic Convention in Denver to endorse and support Barack Obama, focused some of his thoughts on one of his -Clinton’s- altruistic passions, the treatment of AIDS. He spoke briefly of the problem, not only in America, but in particular in the 24 sub-Saharan African nations. He didn’t say it this way, but it is one of the greatest medical emergencies and moral dilemmas of the modern era.

Seventy percent of the world’s 34 plus million people infected with H-I-V live in that area.

Seventy percent!

And eight new people are infected every minute.

Not too long ago, five multinational drug companies agreed to cut the prices they charge African nations for anti-AIDS drugs. But the treatment of AIDS-suppressing drugs still might cost two-thousand dollars a year for one patient, four times the average income in many of those countries.

The moral dilemma for humanity is why have we ignored Africa and the AIDS epidemic for such a long time and let it fester to genocidal proportions. Why are we not, as human beings, seeing this as a pandemic emergency? If we look at it only as governments, as drug companies, a dispassionate venue emerges. If we look at it as fellow human beings, then the suffering, the pathos, the inhumanity of it all is shocking and shameful that we let it happen.

I wonder if greed or to be nicer, the profit margin, has anything to do with it.

I wonder if race has anything to do with it.

Spirituality versus Dogma


Being spiritual is acknowledging a loving presence as part of our being and knowing it is in harmonic resonance with all things. Its essence is unconditional love. It is the expression of the All That Is as us.

Religions are the process, the belief systems, the collective and the community by which we choose to express individual spirituality.

In my view many religions have 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 a knowing awareness derived through a direct spiritual experience of the divine is not the same.

Centuries of non-spiritual ritual and adherence to man-made rules have seen religions give more credence to doctrine, than 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 a truth or revelation that may result from an improvisational action like prayer or mediation or a profound experience 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 versus a system of rigid principles. Galileo, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Kabir, and Thoreau are examples to name a few. A direct communication with the divine cannot be proven; it can only be experienced. Personal enlightenment, however it may be expressed, will always disempower dogma and render mystics unacceptable to most religious authorities.

A prime example in recent history was the conflict between the Vatican and Dominican scholar, Dr. Matthew Fox. His enlightenment led him to preach and teach creation spirituality, a positive view of humankind’s inter-relationship with God, rather than the Catholic Church’s dogma of redemption spirituality; a view whereby human beings are born sinful. Fox was first silenced by the Vatican and eventually left the Dominican Order.

The Divine within each person, in the fullness of knowing, assimilates life experience as appreciation. All life, no matter where or how you find it, expresses the Divine, first through experience, then appreciation, and finally revelation.

Is not the creation and birth, a revelation that God is not discouraged with humanity as Tagore suggests? Are not the transformation of a seed to a flower, a caterpillar to a butterfly, or the uniqueness of each snowflake, revelations that belie scientific explanations? There is no explaining a revelation; there is only the aware experiential appreciation of it as it is processed through the spirit, mind, and body as an unexplainable joy.

Reasons


There are many reasons to get involved in this year’s elections and the reasons have nothing to do with politics or propositions or personalities. The reasons are citizen warriors, ordinary people with names.

All were killed in action. Today they are tearful memories for some and just names to others, but they were the living truths of honor, duty and democracy.

Andrew Allard and Amaziah Fassett, killed in action — Revolutionary war.

Mike Quinn, in a gray uniform. Philip Kearney, in blue — killed in action, the civil war.

Emery Pike and John Pruett — killed in action, world war one.

Robert Mccard and Joseph Merrell — killed in action, world war two.

Darwin Kyle and Herbert Littleton — killed in action, Korean war.

William Banfield and William Houston — killed in action, Vietnam.

Marie Rossi and Damon Kanuha – killed in action, the gulf war.

In Iraq to date there are 4,145 confirmed dead by the Department of Defense. Two of their names are: James Hale and Tracy Lynn Alger.

In Afghanistan, to date 576 Americans have been killed in action. Two of their names are: Sergio Abad and Kevin Akins.

No more need be said.