"Never war! Never war! I think most of all about children, whose hopes for a dignified life, a future are dashed, dead children, wounded children, mutilated children, orphans, children who have the leftovers for war toys, children who don't know how to smile. Stop it, please! I beg you with all my heart! It's time to stop!"
"Let's remember that everything is lost with war and nothing is lost with peace."
-- Pope Francis
There is a "secret" saying in mystic circles: "I was a hidden treasure and desired to be known -- so I created the Universe and Consciousness that I might be discovered" (The Holy One)... Whoever can place a child in their midst and accept the death of that child as a consequence of war -- cannot then turn and pretend to entertain the least little thought of the Holy and of the Love that is the Only Reality: no one can build weapons and then sell them and profit from the death of that same child and likewise hope to turn and pretend to entertain the least little thought of the Holy and of the Love that is the Only Reality: no one can entertain any system of greed, exploitation, or oppression... no one can assault, harm, or marginalize any person... no one can sit on the side-lines of life and the required pursuit of justice, equality, and peace and then turn and pretend to entertain the least little thought of the Holy and of the Love that is the Only Reality... The Only Reality is a seamless garment of intention and being...
Intention: every possibility for good is rooted in Sacred Intention: what limits do I place upon my love? What borders do I erect and defend? Who is in and who is out of my community? Do I will the good; do I intend justice, equality, kindness, mercy, and compassion for every other? Do I judge the success and the failure of my day upon my honest pursuit of manifesting my Sacred Intention: in Imitation and Identification with the Holy One?
Being: every possibility for beauty is rooted in Sacred Being: consciousness always comes wrapped in sacred skin: do I revere the existential reality of every other by the steady practice of justice and kindness? Is compassion and mercy the life-blood of my being? Is my life bearing witness to the dignity of the person and of creation through the advocacy and implementation of policies that serve to fully develop and liberate every person, and the good stewardship of this precious blue Planet?
Life is meant to be lived in such a way that the act of living actualizes the discovery of the Hidden Treasure... Our homes, communities, and nations are meant to become mirrors that reflect the Beauty of the Divine Beloved: each one to the other... The only competition that is sacred is this competition: "Today I will strive to love more than Love Itself!" And while we are beginning to think and live anew, let's one-up "Doctors Without Borders" and name ourselves, "Citizens Without Borders"... and then finally, "Lovers All Without Borders": for it is That Loving -- and only That Loving -- which will reveal the Hidden Treasure: the Divine needs us to Love One Another: for it is only through our hearts, eyes, and hands that the Divine can know Itself...
Now: consider the sad state of the war-profiteers... consider the so-called immigration crisis... consider the agendas of the powerful and privileged... consider the plight and suffering of the poor... consider the continuing oppression of women... consider the sexual slavery of children... consider the shoes that you wear and where they come from: who made them? Now: invoke your Sacred Intention and Being: and begin to change the world: we have been waiting for you!
What are you living for? Or perhaps, you might prefer the question, for whom are you living?
In a world suffering in the endless ramifications of "separation", these questions are of great importance. For what they boil down to is whether or not you (specifically you) will accede to the death of this child: it is as simple as that. Every separation requires a corresponding justification: to conclude and accept the death of this child by any action -- or by every inaction -- is to have made a significant choice... and we can't kid ourselves: our guilt and shame will forever cast a shadow upon our hearts...
The religion, economics, and politics of separation are rooted in the "devil". Not the devil of religious fantasy, but the root awareness of "matter" veiling the real Reality of Oneness: the "devil" is the way in which we see and "divide": me and you, better or worse, good and bad, beautiful or ugly, us and them, saved and unsaved, in or out, matter and consciousness, spirit and flesh, male and female: and on and on. These "divisions" are an important part of our journey in life -- initially they are essential for survival: eat this but don't eat that because it will kill you... and then on into our teen years where the separation from parents is important for becoming an adult. But the obvious problem is the intentional cultivation by Power and Privilege (the Dominator Paradigm) of a perpetual teenage mentality / spirituality in the masses of people... While adults are freely conscious beings, aware of choice and responsibility, and capable of acting for the good of all: the perpetual teen, on the other hand, is easily manipulated into an "us against them" mentality; the perpetual teen lives for the easy and quick gratification of desires, limited responsibilities, and in the spiritual dilemma of wanting "Daddy" to solve problems (but with a powerful resentment of the need for a "Daddy" at all)...
Into this devil-of-a-situation, walk the Beings of Great Wonder: Lao-Tzu, Siddhartha the Buddha, Kuan Yin, Socrates, Yeshua the Poet, Mary the Companion of the Poet, Rumi the Ecstatic, Francis of the Lepers, Hildegard the Singer, Teresa of Avila... and on into more recent times with Mother Jones, Eugene Debs, Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Wangari Maathai, Nelson Mandela, and on and on... In every age, wonderful beings rise up to call us forward into our possibilities: it really does matter as to whose voice you are listening to!
If the voice you are hearing is speaking words of "separation" (like the words from Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Steve King, and Michelle Bachman, etc.) turn them off! If the voice you are hearing is coming from a pulpit -- the least you can do is stop giving it money -- but why even attend such a service? I believe that it is "Rumi-Time": it's time to survey this precious blue Planet with the eyes of Unity instead of division: we do not need any religion that preaches separation! We are one with the Divine Consciousness as we are all sisters and brothers: no difference! We don't need any religious authority to justify violence, economic exploitation, the oppression of women, or the acceptance of inequality: we are one with the Divine and sisters and brothers all! And most certainly, we don't need any politician, billionaire, or crook to manipulate systems for their continued power and privilege: we are one with the Divine and sisters and brothers all! Finally, we don't need any paid quack or hack to tell us to ignore science or the warnings of the Planet itself: we are meant to live as stewards of this precious blue Planet -- with an eye and heart looking seven generations forward: yes, this is most definitely, Rumi-Time: "Let the Beauty you love, be what you do".
Did you know that Afghanistan produces the majority of the world's heroin?
South American heroin has become the most prevalent type of heroin available in the United States (particularly in the Northeast, South, and Midwest)...
The Global black market drug trade is r-e-a-l-l-y big business: accounting for over 400 billion dollars a year.
Honduras, through which nearly 80% of cocaine passes on its way to the United States has the highest murder rate in the world.
The Mexican government has estimated that 90% of the murders in that country are drug-related.
The United States is the largest importer of illegal drugs. Most of the U.S. imports come from Mexican drug cartels (organized crime syndicates).
There are as many as 10 million children involved in prostitution worldwide.
UNICEF reports that about 30 million children have been trafficked. Sexual slavery accounts of 79% of cases.
It is estimated that between 100 - 300 thousand children in the United States are involved in prostitution.
It is estimated that around 30,000 children die of hunger and malnutrition everyday.
The United States is the world's largest dealer in weapons of war.
It is estimated that private citizens in the United States possess nearly 300,000,000 guns.
Recent news reports indicate that over 50,000 children and mothers have fled the drug and violent cultures of Central American countries for refuge in the United States: most representatives of the American right-wing blame this situation upon President Obama and his waiving of deportation of the "Dreamers": youth who were brought to this country as children and have lived here virtually all of their lives: Senator Ted Cruz has said, "The reason these children are coming in staggering numbers is because the President has been promising amnesty."
Of course, Senator Cruz habitually distorts truth to fit into his version of reality (as do many others). I have included in this piece a few samples of another reality: one framed by the real staggering truth: we are a people sorely conflicted! With roots in the Jewish-Christian traditions (expanding then into the spiritual presence of every world-faith onto these shores: including people of no faith and creative new faiths): we intuit that we have been summoned by Love, yet live as if that is not true. Imagine living in Senator Cruz's brain: you are a devout Christian, and yet you need to lie, distort, and manipulate... how would you reconcile the Love espoused by Yeshua with the confusing muddle of judgment and rage that is Senator Cruz? And Senator Cruz is the favored representative of the Tea Party!
We can't preach peace and then turn a profit from war. We can't preach Love and then jail our youth for seeing through us to our disturbing core, and who then turn to drugs for either relief or for work. We can't sit idly addicted to our "reality T.V." shows while tens of thousands of children die everyday of hunger, sell themselves in prostitution to survive, or who are abducted and coerced into sexual slavery -- and pretend that all is well. We really can't buy the drugs smuggled into our country by criminals and then judge, harass, or condemn the mothers and children who flee their homes and homeland on the slim chance they might find a better life!
If we were to actually "Love Loudly", as the Poet of Nazareth suggested we do, wouldn't we be welcoming the immigrant mothers and children with open arms? If we were to actually "Love Loudly", as the Poet of Nazareth suggested we do, wouldn't we be building justice, peace, and equality into every aspect of our religions, economics, cultures, and politics? If we were to actually "Love Loudly", as the Poet of Nazareth suggested we do, wouldn't we be the most peaceful, kind, humble, compassionate, respectful, deliberate, merciful, and forgiving people on the Planet? Yes, if we were to "Love Loudly", we would find a way to feed everyone, welcome everyone, build justice into the fabric of every culture, and so many more creative things: because we would truly know ourselves as "possibilitarians" created "by love, for love, to become love" (Simone Weil): and that if we believed that about ourselves, we would know that it was true about everyone else as well: T-h-I-s radiant integrity would change the world in a day, in an hour... maybe even in one single minute...
It is not without meaning that millions of hands, all around the world, everyday pick up a rosary of beads and chant or meditate on the Holy Name. In Aramaic, the Name might be "Alaha"... in other languages it will be "Radha-Krishna", "Jesus" or "Yeshua", "Amma" or "Mother"... and then "secret Names" such as "My Love", "Beloved Friend", "One Love", and even "Divine Rascal"... And then there is the silent chant of the breath, simply flowing in and out like a gentle murmur of a forest stream, "Om", "Hu", and "Amen"... But for each and all of the Names that reach up from our hands or flow out of our hearts, there is the well-spring of Love: steadily working the hidden magic of transformation...
In every clime and place, the minds and hearts of humans have embraced the possibility of "something more": wonder in every generation gives birth to the possibility of Divine Encounters... so we pray, we create music and art, we write poetry, we make movies, we dance across the Planet, and we make love in our endless search for Divine Love, for the Mystery of Oneness that animates our dreams... Our meditations and chanting might be on a silent retreat with Trappist monks, with a Vietnamese teacher, with a Sufi master, with a Hare Krishna lover, or with an activist group on a busy street protesting violence or organizing for justice... We might embrace our lover in sexual union and pause to breathe in the Oneness that is our essential nature and reality...
The essential understanding of chanting the Divine Names is the mystery of invocation: to invoke a Divine Name is to choose -- for that moment -- to live within Remembrance: we remember the One as the One remembers us: until we live in an unbroken awareness of "no separation" and "Only One"... Chanting and meditation is the slow and steady unification of life into the sacred rhythm of giving and receiving Love: Divine Pleasure and Bliss is the very "super-natural" reality of the "What if? before the Big Bang": we are That... we forget and then, ah!
The soul hungers for beauty, as the body hungers for food... The soul, as the essence of the essence of the human heart-consciousness, longs to see, hear, and touch the Divine One: and to know the Divine Ravishing... Intuition and imagination -- the fertile playground of the soul -- is the mystic spark that forever ignites the passion of the artist, the poet, the mystic, and the sacred activist...
When the great Saint, Neem Karoli Baba, instructed Ram Dass to "feed everyone", the command was both literal and mystical: we are supposed to place both of our feet onto the path of action: in the world and for the world: this 21st century is not in need of anything "half-assed". While you are breathing, you must do what you can to eliminate suffering. But "feed everyone" is also mystical: we need roses along with our bread! We need access to beauty, to wonder, to delight, and to all of the passions that make for a fully human life: we need community!
The "burninghand" is the hand attuned to the mysticism of both contemplation and action: our sacred duty is this path, for our feet, our hands, and our hearts... deep contemplative prayer, meditation, chanting, and the mindful discipline of honest intention: in the UNITY of an integrated activism: soup kitchens, work co-ops, free schools, farm cooperatives, intentional community, creative and free art, and the thousands of other ideas alive in the minds and hearts of "paradise possibilitarians"...
We are blessed to live in a time in which the Divine is reaching toward us with perhaps an unparalleled passion: meditation is mainstream, yoga centers abound, dervishes are whirling in beauty all around the world, interfaith spirituality is dynamic, and many of the "old" paths are beginning to open to renewal: meanwhile, climate change, violence, exploitation, injustice, inequality, greed, and sundry other manifestations of the Dominator Paradigm have made it impossible to think of "separating" our holy days from the rest of our days: it's now or never folks!
Our goal is divinely inspired: the creation of the "Beloved Community" and the restoration of the "Beloved Ideal": we belong to one another and to this precious blue Planet: the only "exceptional-ism" that amounts to a hill of beans is the "exceptional-ism" of "I am You, You are Me, and We are All Together: One"... Isn't this the actual meaning of "Love one another as I have loved you"? (Yeshua the Poet).
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.