“Emancipate Our (WHITE) Selves from Mental Slavery….

None but Ourselves Can Free Our Minds.”  Parroting Bob’s words from Redemption Songs, with a twist of the trope.

The problem WHITE folks, is that Most of We white people do not even recognize our own “whiteness.”  We also are unaware that “whiteness” was essentially created during the 17th Century in Virginia, when the “slave codes” were written, drawing a line between indentured poor-ass Europeans servants and enslaved Blacks.  The intent was a result of Bacon’s rebellion, which lasted some years, and in the aftermath the ruling class of nobles recognized they needed to make the lower class servants feel like they were aligned in some way (being from Europe) with the “masters,” thereby preempting any future cooperation of the servants and poor Europeans with black slaves.  During these years “whiteness” came into being only because of the codified subjugation and harsh punitive laws pertaining to black slaves.  (Any astute reader immediately sees that this condition still exist, when less than 1% of whites control over 99% of the capital in the US; yet, the average White thinks – consciously or subconsciously – she/ he is better than the average Black.  Of course, during the Sixties Dixiecrats labeled anyone who advocated alliance of whites and people of color as “communists.”

So guys, before then we Whites were just people….just like Blacks were just people within their own continent, Africa.  Our whiteness could not exist apart from the cruelties of the original sin of institutionalized slavery in this America.  “White people” and the concomitant “whiteness” are both mental constructs that would not exist if there was never any historical or contemporary contact between those of European descent and those peoples of Africa and the diaspora.  “White” people do not exist without Blacks! (As a sidebar, many Whites have African dna – like myself.)

As for “race,” there is only one race, the human (“hue-mon”) race.  White people cannot continue thinking as “whites,” if we are ever to reach our full potential as PEOPLE, as Divine Creations.

The problem that ensued, however, is that while we Whites enjoyed and enjoy all the freedoms appertaining to “being” in the ruling authority class, we mostly are unaware of our “whiteness.”  Although we may feel the rumblings in recent years of the shift that will undoubtedly force us to confront the absence of self-awareness of our fortunate predicament and its daily manifestations and agencies to the demise of people of color, most of us just continue to move through our daily lives “dumber than a stump.”

I suggest WE all get educated and hip to our “whiteness” – beginning today.  The salvation of the so-called “free world” depends on it.  We Whites today are the gatekeepers of access and attainment in a large part of societies hierarchies.  Only when the people who are sitting in those positions of power either began to recognize their “whiteness” and begin to change themselves and their inherent biases – or when people in those positions of power began to be more and more people of color (which is not happening quickly enough by any measure) – will America (and Europe) begin to energize its full potential as a society confronting much greater problems to the survival of “hue-mon” kind.

Given that all of we Whites grew up in “whiteness,” we are blinded just like being snow blinded.  Most of us are not bad people, but out of total ignorance we accept our own lives as the “norm,” and acquiesce to situations and conditions that negatively impact the daily lives of people of color, and we do so without even thinking of it, because of our IGNORANCE.

Here are a few references to get you going on your “whiteness” educational journey:

Search Google and You Tube “Dr. Robin DiAngelo.”  She is an educator and lecturer who has focused on “whiteness” for decades, and will “wake you up.”

Search Google and You Tube for “Jane Elliott.”  She is a pioneer white educator who created the “blue eyes, brown eyes” experiment and has conducted sessions for decades.

White students undergo weekly ‘deconstructing whiteness’ program at Northwestern University

https://aeon.co/ideas/how-white-people-were-invented-by-a-playwright-in-1613

The Great Fear — The Myth of Whiteness

Here is also where you can find a very good MEDIUM blog article (unfortunately I cannot provide the url):

 

View at Medium.com

medium article

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

 

 

A Good Time to Practice the 3 Antidotes

As a Buddhist, often I need to kick myself in the butt to remind me that there are ways, even in these troubled times, to maintain equanimity of my spirit mind.  As any Buddhist will say, in her or his own words, there are three root poisons that work to impede our divine happiness, those being anger, greed and confusion.

Today, as throughout history, we easily can discern these 3 poisons infecting American society at large, regardless of one’s political persuasion, or apolitical posture.  So these poisons not only infect an individual, but spread like rotting fruit in a barrel,  pervading all society, ebbing and rising over time. This infection is always present, everywhere in the world, and has been since the proverbial Eve picked the apple (uuummm, that juicy, tasty apple!)

However, the antidotes to any or all 3 of the poisons must first be given to individuals, one at a time.  The antidotes are always present, in each of us, but have to be spiritually accepted.  And, only the individual can decide voluntarily to take the antidotes, as the curing effects will not be realized if forced upon she or he.

Everyday we witness all 3 poisons flowing and defiling our humanity.  From the highest political office in America, varieties of the 3 are pumped through channels of willing receptors, who often do not even recognize their sickness.  But every action has a reaction, so those who oppose the policies of the present Oval Office, likewise allow themselves to be infected with other strains of the 3 viruses.

So what are the antidotes?

  1.  To counteract anger:  Loving-kindness.  We must remind ourselves that each human being is just that, no more, no less, and strive to feel empathy and compassion for the challenges others are confronting that impede and block them from being the loving person they each have the potential to be, as we all do.  They are not responsible for our own feeling of anger, as no one can control how we feel if we are masters of our mind.  By cultivating a sense of forgiving, unconditional love for those who otherwise infuriate us, our internal anger will be restrained.  This does not mean we are not also responsible for externally working to arrest those in the grips of hatred from committing acts of violence or harm; by restraining them from such actions, we are actually helping them.
  2. To counteract greed:  Generosity.  We must overcome our own desire in the political realm to want everything to be the way we want it.  Our world view may have many good qualities, but it is just our world view, for none of us is omniscient. Generosity can also be expressed by reaching out to those whose views differ from us, offering a white feather of peace and a gentle request to explore together the root issues that separate us.  Lastly, generosity will not be sustained externally if we each do not strive to be more generous – consciously generous –  in all our social interactions, whether with a partner, a child, family or other close associations.
  3. To counteract confusion.  Wisdom.  With wisdom comes the faculties to negotiate this treacherous sea we live in daily.  All the great minds, philosophers and spiritual keepers knew this.  For instance, Proverbs 4:7 reminds us to get wisdom, get understanding.  Personally I like to use the term “overstanding,” to convey the higher quality that true wisdom exhibits.  One way of gathering wisdom is to practice critical analysis.  I have mentioned this a number of times in my posts.  I truly believe that if more and more younger students can be exposed to critical analytical discourse, then the fallacies, delusions, illusions and overall confusion we see today will diminish over time.  Most of those who have views supporting the Oval Office I believe are in a state of utter confusion and delusion, because they are not skilled in critical thinking, to search for the truth in any situation.  For instance, blaming immigrants for Americans being unemployed will fly in the face of logical cause and effect analysis.  Hating someone because of their skin color or customs also will be cooled when real exploration takes place.

Having spoken about these antidotes, I realize too that behind the anger, greed and confusion lurks what we can label just pure evil.  I truly believe that there is a negative higher force that is always present in the human mind, which will exist always (until we all attain enlightenment…..but that is another matter).  We see pure evil at work in the mass murders recently, but pure evil rears its supremely ugly face throughout all history, whether the genocide in Rwanda or Cambodia, or the Nazis, or the fire bombing of cities by the Allies.  When we allow evil to appear it always will.  Only the 3 antidotes keep it in check.

So having written this to share with you today, I commit to myself to do be better at taking my antidotes, and not push away the spoon like a sick boy who pushes away his mother’s hand with the spoonful of nasty medicine.

Peace and blessings be with you all.

White men lost in the matrix of hate.

What is it about some white men that leads them to the worst kind of hate: hating another human being for the way she or he was born?  I do believe that if one could, by means of some super sleuth device that’s part time machine and part AI God, trace the origins of racism in white men in America, one would find they have been caught up in a matrix of naivety, ignorance and confusion that manifested a few hundred years ago, and has been a force that has lurked in the recesses of twisted minds since.

I have come to believe that racism in large part, is a form of mental illness afflicting a particular demography of white males within every generation in our country.  (Note: of course what I say applies to many white females, but thankfully they do not often express themselves by being creators of carnage.) I don’t think one can challenge an argument that America has many historical and cultural attributes, at the intersection of which is a mental “black hole” like those in deep space, that literally sucks in susceptible white men’s minds.  Once in the pull of the black hole, they cannot escape after passing a certain point.  Their mental and moral decay at that juncture radiates an anger that is entirely destructive, in fact, is evil itself.

Now racism is a form of hate based on an invalid Zeitgeist that has traveled through time, morphing along the way, generation by generation.  In the mid-Twentieth Century it was manifested profoundly in Germany, infecting a large part of the population, even though it had already taken hold here in AmeriKKKa long before.  Really this country has been built on hate, when one takes a serious look at our history.  Every immigrant group that has come to theses shores has hated the other group, with those arriving more recently receiving the brunt of the hate of those already here; and, then there is the matter of the genocide of First Peoples.  But the racism of white men hating people of color is a unique brand of such hate, giving them the “justification” to commit atrocities like at Wounded Knee, and the now countless mass murders over the last three years.

Here is one article asking if racism should not be considered a mental illness, or at least explored as such.  I agree with most of the article, as it lays out what to me is obvious, that one way to begin to “cure” racists is by exposing white racists to those persons of color in a way that can lead to person to person transaction.  I don’t know where one might begin to practice such an experiment at large, but within our prison industry might be a good starting point.  It is a fact that if two people of different “persuasions”  are forced to confront one another in a situation that depends on their mutual cooperation, they tend to begin to see the other as “human” and not a mere object to receive their hate.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-pacific-heart/201708/after-charlottesville-is-racism-mental-illness

I think this approach should be seriously looked into.  Of course, we can not use pleas of insanity by domestic terrorists or other racists that have harmed innocent people; but, we can attempt to root out the mental/spiritual cancer of racists and try to “fix them.”

Another “approach” to preventing or curing racism, I believe wholeheartedly could and should began in secondary education.  In previous posts I have suggested that a reason for so much of our problems as a country is the inability to critically analyze problems, or “problems.”  Using the  Socratic method of discussion, showing young people how to analyze and unravel the threads of a problem or condition, so they can separate the real threads from the perceived fallacious threads, would without a doubt contribute to youth who carry that ability to seek truth into adulthood.  Racism will not flourish where there is truth.

Jazz, America’s Classical Music

If you are not a student of jazz, nor even very familiar with its vastness, that’s ok, I just hope you will hear me out on this, and then think about how what I say applies to the music idiom you prefer or love even.  I assure you it will apply, you may just need to do some substitution.

I chose the photo above, two empty park benches, side by side.  Now imagine, on one bench is seated a single musician, playing jazz, all alone.  My vision is of a sax player, but maybe it’s a cat or a lady horn player blowing on the trumpet or coronet or …….you name it.  Now it could even be a guy on a trap drum kit, but I prefer to think in terms of a horn’s vibration.  An acoustic guitar will do well though, in this discussion.

Here you come, out for a leisurely walk before it gets too warm, and hearing the wafting notes of extemporaneous composition floating through the trees, you follow these, curious and perhaps bewitched.  Finding the player, who only acknowledges you with a quick glance, after standing a moment listening, you say to yourself, “I think I will just sit and listen for a while.”

Being a jazz aficionado of many years, you just close your eyes, and listen, non-judgmentally, as the player experiments, stuttering on this note, then hesitating, then repeating and repeating again, until satisfied with that stroke of the painting.  Each note you hear takes you somewhere in your soul, your memories, your very primordial essence, carrying you along the strands of your DNA to experiences and relationships of your countless ancestors, and even (in my way of thinking) your many reincarnations.  You sit listening, hearing but not analyzing, for it cannot really be analyzed, as it is “jazz,” a fully-constituted quantum wave/particle having only the smaller parts that make up your very body and all that you perceive around you and all that you do not yet perceive, the very web of the Potentiality that is what many call God, others just know no name may be assigned, for It is neither this nor that.  Of the infinite possibilities of each note you take in, your neurons fire collapsing at each moment the probability wave into that special note that you and only you can claim.  You own each note, just as much as the lady playing.  You become an Eulipion.

The thought may come to mind, does the player hear her notes and feel what you feel listening to his notes?  A little perhaps, but what she is laying down is a river, she is pouring in the sacred water, shaping the twists and turns and rapids and falls, which she navigates, but you are in your own boat, free to also navigate as you feel, or are drawn to do by inexorable forces that you have little control over.  It is her journey, her creation, but she gives openly for you to enjoy in your little “mind skiff.”

A large part of listening to jazz is just relaxing into what you hear, letting the mind and spirit, mind/spirit, synthesize the extension of the notes that are only yours alone to enjoy in the way that you do.  Each person will enjoy the same music differently, because what we hear is what each of us process as our personalized perception of those lyrical dimensions.  This is also true of what we touch and what we see, but that’s another story. All is Mind.

Of course, as I said above, please feel free to substitute your own idiom, your own instrument, and then just visualize mentally, let it be a brief meditation.  Your surely will “see” that of which I write this morning.

Enjoy your day.  Listen to some great music!

For Muhlaysia

When I heard of the murder just a few days ago of Muhlaysia Booker in Dallas, I was overcome with anger and sadness.  Just 23 years old, identifying as a trans girl, she had already been nearly beaten to death only a month before.  This is not the first murder of a trans girl in Dallas in recent times either.  And around the USA the statistics bear out that black trans girls (women) are more often than not the victims of killers, and a large part of that reason is these girls are not accepted openly by “normal” strata of society, and are often driven to engage in risky behaviors just to survive.

I have LGBTQ godchildren – and they are all just a little older than this young lady.  I cannot imagine something bad happening to any of them, but sadly that is not today’s reality, because attacks can literally happen anywhere.  Like any parent who loves their children and accepts them for what they are, I would give my life for any of mine.  But of course they are adults and I cannot be with them hardly at all now.  All I can do is pray for them.

Here in Texas, it took the murder and decapitation of Mr. James Byrd, Jr.,  in 1998 to get a hate crimes law passed, but it did not include protection for gender identity, and although there have been multiple efforts to get this done, it has been stymied in the Capitol by lawmakers representing the “usual” voters, who know not love.

I really hold our society at large accountable for letting this happen.  However, as long as we have preachers preaching hate and intolerance instead of what Jesus taught, and churchgoers voting on such misinformed interpretations of what should be self-evident, we as a society will continue to come up short on the arc of moral justice.

However, we each can do a little, besides voting in the right reps…we can stand up within our families, our social orgs and clubs, and even in the supermarket lines, in support of those who wish to express their true identities.  If we can’t individually stand up for human rights in our very midst, then what kind of persons are we?

RIP Muhlaysia, I know you are loved around the world.

Just Being…

We had some hard rain yesterday, but after some hours it let up so I could take a short walk to the grocery nearby.  On the way back it occurred to me that a topic for today should be about “being in the present.”

As I walked along I traversed fallen twigs, leaves, and other unrecognizable “stuff,” much of it left by the force of the rain, knocked from bushes above, or blown from some other spot by the winds.  I allowed myself to become very thoughtful about this, and yet allowed my mind to just be open to blending with what I perceived, visually and mentally.  I thought about how each leaf stuck to the sidewalk had a history that was infinite.  The same for even the bird poop, and how leaves and poop were directly connected and essentially part of the whole.

Take one leaf for example. We can examine how it came to be a leaf, and we can examine how it came to be one of the leaves that was displaced by the rain water, and how the wind and the rain and gravity all conjoined to place the leaf in the exact position and orientation that I saw it in.  We can trace this history of the leave, from being a sprout on a twig, to being part of the bush or tree, to the seed that the tree came from, to what carried or placed the see where the tree grew, and if carred there, how and why, did a bird carry it, and what kind of bird and the full history of that one bird, such as its migration, the food it consumed…..and well, as one quickly sees there is no end to the investigation that one can do if one wishes.

The “bottom line,” (a favorite term in the West, since we are all about the almighty dollar) is that all things if explored thoroughly, are seen to be part of the web of life, and more so, the quantum web when we drill down to the ultimate state of perception.  This is what is called “sunyata” in Sanskrit.  It is the “emptiness” of all that we perceive, meaning empty of inherent existence.  The entire universe contains nothing that is not interdependent with everything else.  It’s really quite simple, yet so illusive to those never presented with such philosophy (and physics).  By just being in the present, observing each thing and phenomena and our own thoughts at the moment, we can be transported into the heart of this concept, and for at least a few seconds, or minutes, arrive in this suspended “place” that has no time nor space nor gravity.

That we can readily access this state of being anytime, anywhere, is really “pretty cool.”  If we do practice this, the least benefit we will attain is the realization that we as a person are fully connected with the ultimate creation.  No need to do much more than this, no need to prostrate, no need to cross the heart, no need to go to a formal place of worship (except for the social experience and support).  We each are given the full throttle power to simply, “Be.”

Enjoy Being today.

Dreaming

Dear readers, starting my morning, coffee level down to one-half, and not sure where this post will lead really.  I am just sort of dreaming it up as I “type.”  I often get spontaneous thoughts, spurts of inquisitiveness, and on rare occasions, creativeness, and the notion of dreaming popped into my mind a few days ago.

Lest you immediately think I am about to write about the dream states we experience during sleep, I am not.  I ask you to consider the term “dreaming” as having to do with living our lives having “goals” that we may adjust over time – or not – depending on our personalities, versus living your life as a dream.  I know, I need to be more clear with this notion.  Life coaches will inform us that we should have goals that we work or strive for, right?  We have heard often the phrase, “dream big,” or some permutation of that idea.  What brought this to my mind actually was when I was out for my morning walk, my path taking me along a busy boulevard with heavy rush hour traffic, I suddenly felt great empathy for all those passing me, all “going somewhere,” most in a rush.  As I am retired, I do not rush anywhere anymore, and now have the luxury of doing what I want (within my tiny budget) using my time as I feel at any moment.  Sounds great I know, and it is.  I feel very blessed, and do not take it for granted, as it is only my great health that provides this comfortable lifestyle.

But all these people rushing along in the morning, and then going the opposite way at the end of the day, I ask, are they chasing their dreams for something better? Have they a vision of what they are actually doing all this rushing for?  What are they dreaming about as they drive along?

I also hope that some or many of those folks of all ages, have not dreams of the future, but are living their lives as if within a dream.  By that I mean not focusing on the future, not even focusing really on tomorrow or the next few hours, but merely relaxing and “being” in the moment they are in right at each moment.  We are so challenged, particularly in this country – USA – with temporal sensitivity:  do I have time for this or that? What time is it?  Johnny has to be at soccer (football) practice by 6, oh my, how can I make it there on time?

There is another state we can be in, and often all of the concerns we have like getting to the soccer pitch on time will just vanish if we shift into our own “dream time.”  If we just attune to being present in what we are doing, being “mindful,” using a Buddhist term, so many things just fall into place.  Important things get worked out with least effort, and small things just fall off the table, and they never should have been placed on the table.

So I ask you, are you living/dreaming within the moment right now, or rushing to achieve some thing, some place, where if you live long enough you can spend your days “dreaming” in a fantasy which you may find not at all satisfying?

Sweet dreams may you catch each dawn.  Peace.