Fire Bird: Awakening

FireBird2017February 27 marks the Tibetan New Year and another opportunity to start fresh, abandoning old patterns of hope and fear.  That is really the crux of Buddhist philosophy: staying present and mindful in THIS moment, rather than hoping or worrying about other outcomes.

On our Western New Year I wrote about Seeing Clearly (also the subject of my last nonfiction book, here on the main page.) Basically it means accepting what is. Seeing things as they are, without our filters and interpretations– just “as is.”

Whenever we struggle with our situation (whatever it is) we suffer. That is what Buddha is said to have realized back in the day, and what all the various Buddhist teachers express. Grappling with this concept IS our practice (as one of my favorite teachers Tsunma Pema Chodron) is fond of saying.  (It is my intention to title my next book Grappling, for that reason.)

The rub, for me at least, is even accepting that fact. I constantly want to say, “yes but…”  As in what about physical pain? What about the need to rise up and fight against fascism? (or hate, greed, torture, abuse.) Isn’t it lame to let go of the Valiant struggles? Isn’t that just caving in and giving up?  Words matter, especially in Dharma.  Acceptance vs. resignation is a favorite topic for grappling.  Here’s a podcast from the Secular Buddhist on that very issue (only 11 minutes and worth the time.)

So, the upshot (as Noah explains in the podcast) is about how we handle our moment to moment experiences; responding– rather than reacting emotionally– to whatever is occurring.  It’s about creating the space and freedom to respond, not resigning or surrendering.  The answer comes by grappling with this process and letting go of our reactive patterns. Translating that to our big concerns takes practice, unless you are so fortunate as experience instant Enlightenment.  🕉️  (More on that in a future post.)

As for the Fire Bird, it is part of the Tibetan astrological phases based on a lunar calendar. It represents passion and also awakening.  Beautiful image!


#BerniesBack  #OurRevolution #SafetyPins #AMJoy #inners #PeacePledge @MMFlint @LisaBloom @JaneOSanders

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the public declaration of Trump as President-Elect may be the best thing that’s happened since the @BernieSanders revolution.  Here’s why:
IF Hillary had been declared the Victor November 8 the Repubs were ready to drag us through four more years of Congressional investigations, impeachment hearings, law suits claiming our election was rigged, on and on. Now read carefully because words matter!

safetypinsIt’s not over YET!  The Electoral College meets December 19, 2016. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, so this isn’t just any old “rubber stamp” meeting. This one will be a doozy, especially if we can disqualify Trump! (details on that below.)
As Dylan says, “Things have changed.”
Diverse groups, a few listed above, plus the Obama Coalition, Michael Moore’s movement and #OurRevolution (aka “the Bernie Band” back together), have renewed vigor given what’s happened since November 9.  It’s not too late.  Here’s my assessment:

First came #HateCrimes and violence against minorities and women. I actually experienced this myself! On Wednesday (Nov 9) I was driving in a semi-congested area. A huge truck with Trump signs and stickers (behind me) was honking at me. I couldn’t speed up and there was nowhere to go. At some point he pulled out and around, nearly crashing into another car, and yelled, “Move over you F-ing liberal C**t.”
No one has called me anything that offensive since the old FemiNazi label during the heat of the Women’s Lib reactionary days. I forget such hatred of successful women persists! A certain segment of society began “showing their rears” the past few months. Now they feel so empowered they are out and self-identifying with their ugly temperament and actions. Nazi graffiti, KKK signs, bullying and even beatings are on full display against blacks, Muslims, Latinos, Hispanics and other minorities.

At the same time, progressives like Michael Moore (@mmFlint) and Bernie Sanders began speaking out again. Bernie has the long-view of how to reform the Democratic Party with the #OurRevolution movement. That’s great, but with hate crimes and vengeance on the rise EVERYWHERE right now we can’t wait for political action and we can’t let Trump take office.

Immediate action steps unfolded for many of us Saturday morning on #AMJoy (the 2-hour MSNBC show hosted by Joy Reid.) I took 5 pages of notes listening to various speakers like attorney @LisaBloom. The upshot for me is that with so much evidence of hate crimes, violence, voter suppression and disenfranchisement, predatory behavior and foreign collusion we can lobby the upcoming Electoral College to disqualify Trump! I propose the new hash tag of #DisqualifyTrump for listing members of the E.C., how to contact them, and other ideas on how to proceed. I’m sure one of the E.C. experts can help guide us on the most effective way to present our case. There’s plenty to challenge when it comes to the E.C.

Attorney Lisa Bloom said it best Saturday morning:

“Trump is about to bump into the big, beautiful wall of the Justice System!”

She was referring to the 75 pending lawsuits he faces and that will go forward even if he is President-Elect. There is also the Trump University civil case which begins November 28. And, the fake charity called the Trump Foundation is embroiled in legal battles. The so-called Blind Trust that he wants to use is being challenged because if Trump puts his family in charge of his business matters, that’s not a “blind” trust– it’s a conflict of interest!
Ms. Bloom and others discussed the rampant nepotism he is suggesting for his so-called Administration and the many Constitutional violations on the horizon (including attacks on our First Amendment.) So there is a LOT to compile and present to the Electoral College. Constitutional attorneys and elites get busy!! We got work to do!

Also, a great unifying rally-call comes with the #SafetyPins Movement. This apparently began in the U.K. after the Brexit vote. Brits wore safety pins as a silent way to convey their support for refugees and immigrants. Now we have our own #SafetyPinSolidarity Movement in the USA to show we stand with the oppressed groups being bullied and harassed by Trump supporters.
Evangelical Trump supporters say they are worried about losing their “Christian Values” but they don’t show us what that means. Spewing hate, vitriol, and name-calling is far from Christian. Seems that it will take REAL Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, LBGTQ, the disabled and disenfranchised to show that Christian values are about LOVE. ♡

Finally, Michael Moore and many, many more are marching and protesting. GREAT!! Let’s all get out there, but we MUST remain peaceful to carry out this important mission. So, wear a safety pin (or a lot) and let’s all take the #PeacePledge to stay HIGH as they go low. I see a path forward to #DisqualifyTrump before he takes office. It won’t work unless we maintain a peaceful protest and carry signs with messages of #Justice and #Equality for ALL. Let’s use our “elitist” minds, not our brawn, to get this one done!

Don’t panic! The Jedis will prevail. Hillary was right about this…


What we say…

Just tweeted that What we Say IS who we are. This is a fact. We can’t hide our real selves when we’re speaking. We literally manifest our inner thoughts tTibetanMandalahrough our words and actions. Our tone reveals our inner state, showing our level of anger, apathy or compassion.

So this idea that we “slip up” or “chose the wrong phrase” is just an excuse. As a writer, I may be better at word choice than some, but we can tell a child’s intention by how they speak. It’s not about vocabulary or intelligence, it’s how we present and convey our true selves. Our state of consciousness cannot be hidden for long once we “open our pie hole” (as Planter’s Mr. Peanut reminds us on the current TV ad.)

It’s obvious if we are hostile or caring, whether we embrace diversity or rail against it. Our facial expression and mannerisms are particularly telling, but tweets are also very revealing. In 140 characters we can tell who is a compassionate, thoughtful advocate for others versus who is mean, self-centered and untrustworthy. For those who can’t discern this, well they need our compassion not more hateful rhetoric. BTW, here’s the definition of rhetoric: “language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.”

So don’t be fooled by stage theatrics, sales tricks or outright lies —  trust your own ability to discern the person behind the words.

(Next post I’ll elaborate on ways to look at our consciousness and internal thoughts, for those like me who would like to improve our state of mind.)

Good Friday?

Is it a “good Friday” with so much hate, anger, and fear in the world? For those spending this weekend in contemplation of what Jesus taught and/or  reflecting on how he died for “our” sins, he died for EVERYONE’s sins — a point worth pondering.  Jesus may have tossed the money changers out of the temple, but he still forgave them. While dying in agony on the cross, we’re told that he cried out, “Father forgive them. They know not what they do.”  He was referring to the Romans (and others) who crucified him.  He even wanted salvation for his killers–  for all of us.

Yes, I think Bible scholars and theologians would agree, Jesus didn’t die just for “evangelicals”,  or for “Christians” only.  He was crying out for ALL humans and our limited ability to comprehend the consequences of our actions.  We are human and we all make mistakes.  Jesus was asking to take on the burden (the Karma) of ALL of us.

Out of respect, I used to avoid posting Buddhist philosophy on Christian holidays. But, with ignorance the cause of so much fear and suffering, I must speak out, especially on these days.  Bible prophecy seems right on about our destiny; that we are on the brink of blowing ourselves “to Kingdom come” with so much fear, violence, and bigotry.  Millions of Christians will go to “church” this weekend, in other words congregate in a beautiful building, and pat themselves on the back for doing so.  It’s wonderful to pray and take time to reflect on Jesus, but will it change hearts or minds? If going to church is just another way to hunker down in a deeper fundamentalist stance of  “us against them”  then it’s not a good Friday.  It’s a very sad Friday.  I say this as someone raised in a Pentecostal church that was extremely intolerant, even of other Christians — especially Catholics.

For years I thought maybe that particular Midwest church was an anomaly, an exception, and that other Christians did “walk the talk.” Sadly, over the years intolerance has been on the rise– or maybe it’s always been there lurking in the shadows.  Now, with mega mouths like Trump refuting civility, people are openly expressing their hatred and distrust of “other” (anyone who looks different, disagrees with their views, or doesn’t go to their church.) Christians are setting fires to mosques and even Buddhist temples.  What’s the line about hypocrites and getting rid of the log in your own eye?  (Matthew 7:5)  I know, it pertains to me as well.

Easter should be an awakening, a true resurrection of Spirit; a time of fellowship and good will toward our “fellow-man.”  That language doesn’t translate as being nice only to those in your congregation or only males.  It means being compassionate to everyone.  I believe that includes not only women, children and people of all faiths, but how we treat the “least amongst us” — the helpless, and also animals, fish, birds and bugs, who are often senselessly tortured.

Jesus died for our sins, took on that tremendous burden because we are human, fallible and often unaware.  Most of you have probably deleted this link, and couldn’t care less what a Buddhist has to say.  In case you’re still reading,  I’ll end with something I found on a Christian ministry website:

“The struggle to forgive can ultimately make us stronger because it humbles us, causes us to realize our need of the Lord, destroys our pride, helps us to see our own sin more clearly, and causes us to rely on our brothers and sisters in the Lord for help.

Give God time to work in your heart. If the opportunity arises to talk to that person, go ahead. If not, lay it at the foot of the cross. And keep letting go of bitterness.”

Above quote from Dr. Ray Pritchard, of “Keeping Believing” prison ministries. This and other posts by ZenWoman, aka author of Seeing Clearly ej Morgan.