The Summer of Love Gave Birth To a Dream
The cultural shift that "began" with the Beat Poets in the 1950's, only came into focus with the Civil Rights, Women's, American Indian, Gay, Farmworker, and Peace Movements. Hippies and Hare Krishna deepened the cultural critique: East finally met West at Woodstock, in Airports, on city streets, in alternative communities, and even in old monasteries... Political assassinations, police oppression, FBI subterfuge and murders, and the violence endemic in drug and alcohol addictions drove the counterculture underground: oftentimes into Catholic Worker communities, into Zen Centers, small rural communities, and oftentimes into the "loneliness" of solitary journeys into awakening...
The immoral Iraq war of volition instigated by Bush / Cheney began to bring into our national consciousness, once again, the clear necessity of a renewed cultural / spiritual critique. By a similar token, the election of Barack Obama unleashed the latent racist nationalism of the Far Right, culminating in the election of Donald Trump -- of course, through the unique formulation of the Electoral College. A re-invigorated women's movement, a student-led "March for Our Lives", a Black Lives Matter movement, the Science March, along with the stunning resurgence of an "alt-right", Neo-nazis, science deniers, profit-at-all-cost-seekers, and war hawks make this time, our time, perhaps the turning point of both American and world history.
American author Mark Twain wrote, "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." But what is truth in an era in which political and religious operatives and zealots deliberately obfuscate any and all truth -- to the point of constructing "alternative facts"? In this asinine un-reality, the search for truth genuinely means a whole lot more than something! If "the Summer of Love gave birth to a dream" it is equally possible that the election of Mr. Trump has given us a "still-born nightmare": the nightmare of "lies-become-truth, and truth-become-folly"...
In Hindu philosophy, the Divine Beloved is "defined" as "Sat-Chit-Ananda" or "Truth, Being, Bliss". In Christianity, these words are said to be of Yeshua the Poet of Nazareth, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life": which is a way of articulating the exact same thing: Truth = Truth, Life = Being, and Way = Bliss. Truth, here, has nothing to do with anyone's opinion: Truth is the condition of G-d, the Holy One: that One cannot exist or have Being separate from Truth. By the same token, Truth is also a condition of our being: we don't really come alive until we are in contact -- through and through -- with Truth. Truth defines, as much as either Being or Bliss, the very nature of G-d. To what degree are you / I free from guile, deceit, or lies?
If one is at all inclined towards honesty (the little sister of Truth), then one must inevitably realize that Guile, Deceit, and Lies -- as if they have a human reality -- are vomiting (what a stink!) all over this precious blue Planet, all over our democratic institutions, all over science, all over the constructs of our civilization: truth is manipulated, trimmed, and savaged down to an acceptable size so as to be able to be managed by operatives, experts, and greedy bastards: bastards with no desire whatsoever to cultivate the humility necessary to step out upon "the Way"...
So, what is "the Way"?
The Way is Mystery (read the Tao Te Ching): Way means path, to be sure, but it also means the "darkness of the New Moon", which is the "unknowing" of both a child and the wisdom of the humble woman / man: Way means an ordinary practice "washing dishes is making love, making love is cultivating beauty, cultivating beauty is unleashing imagination, unleashing imagination is re-creating time into the service of divine possibilities, re-creating time into the service of divine possibilities is a rip roaring belly laugh and the deep satisfaction of this moment - every moment"... Way is simply Bliss...
Sat-Chit-Ananda is supposed to be our name! (This is actually a magical mystery secret, but hey, this is no time for dilly-dallying!) Each one of us has been made in the image and likeness of the Holy One: we have been made so as to be the means by which That One Knows Itself (this is a challenging thing to absorb, but hey again, aren't you ready for a Big Thought?) Seriously, look at any number of pictures of Mr. Trump: search for his smile... Then look at any number of pictures of the Dalai Lama, or of Fr. Bede Griffiths, or of Nelson Mandela: search for their smiles and compare those smiles to the smile of Mr. Trump: do you see the differences? But I write this primarily to underscore your / my responsibility to practice our essential Truth, Being, and Bliss...
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.