Twilight in America

Written by Julie Adler

April 4 2003

Twilight in America

This morning I was reading Ďa treasury of sublime instructionsí from a high Tibetan lama. America containsrepparttar symbol ĎAhí, which soundsrepparttar 126970 unborn nature of truth. Itís alsorepparttar 126971 symbol atrepparttar 126972 throat chakra. Sometimes when I sit and visualizerepparttar 126973 colors according to my Buddhist practice, I think ofrepparttar 126974 American flag and how uncanny it is that they arerepparttar 126975 same. I sit and pray for liberation from physical, verbal and mental afflictions. And yetrepparttar 126976 country I was born into is rocking itself intorepparttar 126977 hell realm. Blood soaked terrain propels more blood soaking andrepparttar 126978 cycle continues; there seems to be no choice. Propelled by afflictions.

In contemplatingrepparttar 126979 sufferings of cyclic life in general, they can be broken down into six sufferings. Life is uncertain. We can never find a sense of satisfaction. We have to shed our bodies over and over again. We are born over and over again. What goes up must come down. And we do this alone. We may think we have companions but we die alone. Period.

There are more than 5 billion humans onrepparttar 126980 planet now and few studyrepparttar 126981 dharma. Itís a precious jewel more hidden than seen. Asrepparttar 126982 Hummer cruises downrepparttar 126983 freeway, with wheels that afford a very high panorama, I pass another SUV smashed in onrepparttar 126984 side, and debris everywhere. Do people see, do they know? They just drive around in their Hummers, with bullet proof shadowy glass protecting bodies that are bound to disintegrate some day. They are bouncing above it all in what some referred to asrepparttar 126985 Ďgodí realm hereÖLos Angeles. Sunny days, wealth, oceans of offerings to yourself. And only yourself. Accumulate, borrow, accumulate more.

I cried at lunch yesterday as a friend told me about a CEO of a well-known movie studio and how much he makes a day; how much he spent to redecorate his office that he doesnít use. How he also had a quadruple by pass. And my mind flashes abruptly to begging bowls penetratingrepparttar 126986 stone fences of Bodhgaya. $10,000 a day to sit in a soft malleable chair and bark at your employees could feedrepparttar 126987 whole of Bodhgaya for half a year! "Itís out of whack", she said. And so do astrologers, psychics, New Age yogis. Yet thereís no visible awareness of samsara and how it all goes round and round. It isnít just about living a comfortable happy existence this lifetime, people. Itís your own future life at stake. Call it Catholic sin appreciation time. It works for them. You reap what you sow. And soÖand so, if you had a clue aboutrepparttar 126988 fact that your warmongering would take you straight torepparttar 126989 lowest hell in Danteís inferno, and you really knew this - it wasnít just an antiquated Italian classic - you might really think or realize you are thinking?

I came back from India with an upper respiratory infection. When I finally saw my doctor weeks later, she told me I probably had had walking pneumonia; this was before media people coined SARS. I had been inrepparttar 126990 poorest state of India, Bihar, andrepparttar 126991 air there is notorious, a disease den. People walkrepparttar 126992 streets with surgical face masks. You pick your nose andrepparttar 126993 goop is dark. TB floats throughrepparttar 126994 air freely. And people die. Lots of them. Itís not onrepparttar 126995 news. It happens every year. Itís foggy, itís cold,repparttar 126996 air is damp and so getrepparttar 126997 lungs. I laid in my guest house bed every day wondering if I would get worse or better. I took my Cipro. I didnít even feel strong enough to gorepparttar 126998 doctorís. My dharma friends said if I died there in Bodhgaya, it would be a real blessing. Inrepparttar 126999 midst of high lamas and especially His Holinessrepparttar 127000 Dalai Lama. Yes, illness is looked at differently. Itís seen as a purification of past deeds, negative karma popping off. All stored inrepparttar 127001 body. And yet, I come back here and this new mysterious illness is a news breaker. Some Western people have caughtrepparttar 127002 disease and are dying. Itís news and itís plummetting airline ticket sales. Thatís news. But that TB kills thousands a year from all over Asia. Is that news?

We live in a land of Costcos, of sterilized supermarkets with pasturized milk, genetically engineered beef, plastic containers, rubber gloves. The supermarkets here donít smell. They freeze you. You should probably wear a ski suit to shop at Ralphs or Vons. We drive Hummers to prevent death. We pullrepparttar 127003 skin taught on our faces to avoid looking atrepparttar 127004 aging process. We think we can defy death. We think that our minds our so powerful. Butrepparttar 127005 mind that is contaminated is only as powerful as its contaminates. It canít see. It can only see through its own dirty lens.

I watch TV and see talking shriveled up American men in suits. I think ofrepparttar 127006 invention ofrepparttar 127007 suit and tie. Clothing symbols of achievement. Wow. We became stiff. A few years back I would take photos of these talking men and sew them intorepparttar 127008 crotch of my warn out underwear. It was part of my art work atrepparttar 127009 time. They were down there. They still are. But they feel old and gasping. I watched Rumsfeld deliver a speech on TV. He could hardly get a breath. They were short heaves and his chest seemed hard and I thought, "that man is suffering so much". And has no idea. As a yoga teacher, I seerepparttar 127010 physical structural ailments much more now. The caved in chest,repparttar 127011 sagging shoulders,repparttar 127012 color ofrepparttar 127013 skin. Not even a suit or a tummy tuck can hide whatís really going on.

People get so shocked about cancer. Or about this new mysterious disease. Or that old strain of virus coming back. They race against time, their own time. My aunt died a week and a half after I returned back from India. Of pancreatic cancer. Her husband, my uncle, was hating God and that cancer. "I just donít get it", he said, "itís so unfair." My mother cried, "I was dreaming about how much we could do together inrepparttar 127014 future, and now sheís gone. Iím all alone. God is bad." It always surprises me when people get mad at death. According torepparttar 127015 Buddhist scriptures, weíve died so many times in so many different types of births, weíre bound to this way of existence. Why itís so shocking is because we have forgetten. Weíre bound to. And we want to. Itís not fun to die. Itísrepparttar 127016 most excruciating experience and many teachers remark thatrepparttar 127017 very knowledge of this pain is what makes us want to forget. Your body disintegrates and your brain starts to fry and you are hallucinating. The mind is a continuumÖdoesnít die but every mental, physical and verbal act is logged in and those past deeds surge forward. The lord of Death meets you. Whammo. Thereís nothing new or Catholic about what Iím writing. Itís just that with Hummers and Costcos weíve developed a battleground we think we can win on. We can drive over death. Eat him up and liposuction him out of our bodies. We can kill some people in a foreign land and not feel. Not feel. Thatís it. I put my flag on my Hummer and I feel something else. Pride invasion.

Seven Truths - Perceiving this War Differently

Written by Robert Elias Najemy

Seven Truths - Perceiving this War Differently

Dear Friends,

May this find you all well and happy.

I feelrepparttar need to share with you some thoughts about what helps me deal more positively deal withrepparttar 126969 impressions and feelings about this increasingly ugly war.

Natural Feelings and Questions

Regardless of our beliefs about whether it is right or justified, it is natural to be affected byrepparttar 126970 tension, pain, sorrow and anger around it.

It is natural to feelrepparttar 126971 pain of those being bombed and losing their loved ones whether they be Iraqis or American or British families losing their precious spouses and children.

It is natural for many to feel angry about Americaís choice to ignorerepparttar 126972 UN and causerepparttar 126973 death of so many innocent people Ė including its own.

And equally natural for those who think about Saddam Husseinís reign-of-terror to see him as a threat to world peace.

Some may see all this as a senseless waste of human life, not to mention so much money and human energy, that could be used for health and education programs inrepparttar 126974 USA and aroundrepparttar 126975 world and thus - eliminating all our enemies with love, food and education - rather than with weapons.

Some people, depending on their beliefs and programmings, might wonder: v Why do these people - Iraqi and Coalition - have to go through this pain and loss?

v Why do these people have to be bombed?

v Why has Saddam Hussein killed so many of his people?

v Why doesn't he leave so his people are not killed?

v How has America become so self-righteous and oblivious to othersí beliefs, rights and dignity?

v What has happened to truth?

v When will we live in peace and love?

v How long will we create pain for ourselves?

Many of us feel so helpless and unable to do something about it.

Seven Truths

In our previous issue we have mentioned Seven Steps that each of us can take towards making a difference.

In this issue, I would like to briefly mention a few philosophical thoughts that might help us perceive this differently.

1. One spiritual truth is that all is happening within and being controlled by certain cosmic laws. That these laws do not allow anything to happen which is not exactly what we need for our next evolutionary step.

As St. Paul has said, ęNot a hair can move on a personís head without God allowing it.Ľ

This applies to this war in Iraq and Sept 11th and every other horrible event that has occurred Ė and of courserepparttar 126976 beautiful ones too.

Thus, it seems that there must be some higher spiritual reason for this horrible, painful and hate-and-fear-creating this war.

This is not to say that we will always need war.

Neither does it mean that we should not do every we can to stop it Ė if we believe that it is wrong Ė or simply notrepparttar 126977 solution torepparttar 126978 problem.

2. The second concept is that all events and situations haverepparttar 126979 sole function of provoking our inner learning process.

Thus we each need to look inwardly to see what we can learn from this situation.

What might be some possible lessons?

a. Some may need to learn to use power more wisely and not for personal benefit.

b. Many will need to learn forgiveness and understanding.

c. Others will need to learn to feel Godís presence even inrepparttar 126980 midst of bombs, pain andrepparttar 126981 loss of loved ones.

d. Certainly one main lesson for all of us is to transcend our narrow identification with our personal country, religion or political beliefs and experience unity with and interest in all beings regardless of where they live and what they believe.

e. Another lesson is to put ourselves inrepparttar 126982 othersí position and imagine how they Ė our "enemies" feel and realize that they are human beings like us with families, children, fears and needs.

f. Still another is to free ourselves from any hate towards any being and see all as expressions ofrepparttar 126983 divine.

g. And perhapsrepparttar 126984 most important is to remove from ourselves those characteristics which lead to such situations.

We are being asked to see where we ourselves misuse power, where we lie to ourselves and others in order to serve our needs and where we are indifferent to others and their needs. Especially our indifference to those to who belong to ęotherĽ groups, nationalities, religions political systems.

In order to heal ourselves from this illness of alienation, which enables those in power to separate us for their own benefits, we will need realize and put in practice our unity with all. Then they will have no power.

As long as we favor one person, group, religion or nation over another, we are not experiencing unity, and we are contributing torepparttar 126985 problem.

It is important that we free ourselves from limiting ourselves with these superficial temporary roles as Americans, Iraqis, Israelis, Moslems, Christians or Jews and realize that we are all immortal souls playing these temporary roles in order to discover our true divine nature and inherent unity in God.

3. Wisdom also tells us that our leaders are simply symbols or manifestations of our collective consciousness and that they reflect our own personal human qualities Ė in this particular case - alienation, arrogance, misuse of power and indifference towards those not in our circle of identification.

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