Monday, December 20, 2010

Sarah Palin, FYI Reacting Precludes Responding

Mrs. Todd Palin, Hawaii December 2009, without makeup or hairstyling or wardrobe
For a long time quite a while ago I studied what is called the 4th Way.  Brought to the west by G.I. Gurdjieff, and transmitted by J.G. Bennett to the group who formed The Claymont Society, the teachings were designed to assist us in transforming ourselves. We learned that man could be said to have three centers: thinking (consciousness), feeling and moving (body).  These three centers each have their own brain, if you will—thus my domain name.  We also learned that we act, by and large, automatically.  We are asleep almost all of the time, even though we would say we are awake. To become what we can—and need to—become, we need to truly wake up.

Our moving brain is what allows us to drive a car and not have to pause to think before slamming on the brakes when the car in front of us suddenly stops.  We also do not have to remember to breathe, or to keep our hearts beating.  Learning how to type is great once it is automatic. Usually, this is all good, except when our feelings take over our bodies.

If we do not learn how to exert some sort of control over our feelings, our emotions run rampant. In a pique of anger or distress we can summon up enormous power that can equally help or destroy.  Where does the superhuman strength come from that allows us to lift heavy objects off a trapped loved one?  At the same time, from where does the ability or even planning to strike out at a perceived foe come?  Only when we can separate ourselves from our feelings do we have the possibility of choosing our next actions.

In our normal states our thinking brain simply serves as a storage system. We replay over and over the memories that tie in to our emotions, and more often than not, these are negative ones. Yet when we find ways to still our minds—perhaps through meditation—we can watch what the sensitive screen displays without letting any one event get caught in the instant replay. The ability to separate ourselves from this screen opens us up to new ideas, new possibilities and creative thought while giving us the possibility of true consciousness, even if briefly.

Mrs. Palin likes to proffer platitudes, but doesn't see that her own actions belie her words. This tweet by the bitter twitter is vitally important because it demonstrates that she has no idea that there is a world where people don't react, but instead, respond. She slams her famous guest, Kate, for failing to 'man up' and be a mighty meat-eating, rain- and cold-surviving matron like her.

Reacting is part and parcel of being asleep and acting automatically. We see, over and over again, how she simply reacts to things: perceived slights in particular. Life holds so much more! One needn't simply suffer from reacting which usually produces the opposite effect that one was after. If one takes the time to become aware of one's emotions, and thus rises above one's automatic thoughts and actions, one has a far better chance to guide the body (speech, gesture, dress, behavior) in a measured and positive response.

Life provides circumstances, and then we truly do have a choice of simply reacting to them (most often negatively) or taking the time to formulate a response.  I won't hold my breath waiting for Mrs. Palin to begin a study of anything, much less the 4th way. The good part is many people sense, inside themselves, that she misses the mark on even her most 'heartfelt' snipes.

[For a simple exercise of how much control we have over our bodies... try this:  hold both hands out in front of you.  Rotate your hands/arms in a clockwise direction, both of them.  Now, hold both arms so your fingertips are facing each other.  Again, try to rotate both hands in a clockwise direction... :)]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Free Bradley Manning

The US Army private who is charged with somehow obtaining hundreds of thousands of classified documents and videos has apparently been held in solitary confinement for seven months... far longer than most of the documents have even been released.

If he is indeed guilty, I do not know his motives. (How does an Army private gain access to so much classified information anyway???)  What I do know is that someone exposed a rather ugly underbelly of our nation's international relations and our illegal wars, and therefore embarrassed some high-level politicos.  It's this kind of situation that I thought Barack Obama would rectify by assuring us that his policy of transparency is fulfilled.  Instead, I hear no word from our President while this Army fellow languishes in prison as if he were already a convicted criminal.

Tonight my heart and mind goes out to Manning, and my prayers, such as they are, intone a plea for a more humane treatment of this person who may have helped to make public things that we the people should have been made aware of already.  Solitary confinement is not deserved.  Scorn should be reserved for those who would fashion a story to tell us that is not reality.  Thanks should go to anyone who risks their own personal freedom to bring the truth to us all.

Yes, there are probably times where secrecy by our state is warranted.  From what I've read and heard about the Wikileaks document dump, this is not one of those times.  The only people who have been harmed are the alleged leaker himself, and certain heads of states.  Embarrassment does not equal real harm.

Free Bradley Manning, or at least treat him like an American soldier, a human being, who has yet to be convicted of any crime.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Time to Pull the Plug on Palin

It should be clear by now that neither Republicans nor Democrats want anything more to do with Mrs. Palin.

The not-so-liberal media has avoided dealing with her most egregious failings, although of late, no less than the Kennedys, the Bushs, Karl Rove, and other right-wing luminaries have tried to spread the message:  Mrs. Palin, you don't have what it takes to run for President, much less any national political office and probably even state office.

Her reality show is struggling to get back up to its initial ratings.  Her latest book is struggling to gain wide acceptance.  Her daughter lost her bid to win DWTS, and her PAC is paying more money to her and her foreign "consultants" by far than it is to Republican or TeaParty hopefuls. Sixty-three thousand dollars (wow, that sounds like a lot to me) went to purchasing her own book so it could be machine-signed and given out as a free bonus.

Yet, the media clamors to know if Mrs. Palin is going to "run" for the highest office in the land. Every tweet or Facebook posting draws commentary as if it were something important.  It is time, no -- past time -- for our 4th estate to do their job and begin to vet this would-be candidate.

May I recommend Palingates.  Mrs. Palin's abysmal history, from when she was mayor of a village of 5000 to when she was appointed as Oil and Gas Commissioner (a job she quit) to when she was Governor (another job she quit) besieged by ethics complaints (BECAUSE SHE ACTED UNETHICALLY!), is out there for all to see.  Yet so few seem to focus on these essential flaws.  Media, start doing your job. The material is all out there, easy to find thanks to the tireless efforts of bloggers, yes bloggers, some of whom are not even American.

A Palin presidency would affect the entire world, and the world is watching ... and wondering when in hell the American media will begin to do its prescribed duty.  Vet Mrs. Palin, please, NOW.  Take note of her ties to a secessionist organization.  Take note of her fake pregnancy (pdf).  Take note of her connections to dominionism and the Seven Mountain proponents. Take note of her abysmal record of raising her own children - one an unwed mother who is likely pregnant again, another a school bus vandal, another yet a house vandal.  Take note of her legacy as half-term governor, where elders were abused, where indigenous people were abandoned, where the environment was sacrificed in the name of profits, where ethics and transparency were simply feel-good words and not guiding principles.

A majority of the media along with a sliver of America made Mrs. Palin what she is today.  I hold out no hope that her minions will wake up anytime soon, but if the media doesn't hold to its basic tenets (to report the story, not to suck up to someone for access) we will be subject to month after depressing month of shoring up someone who would give Goebbels a run for his money in another era.

Stop pretending this narcissist has anything at all to recommend her as a candidate for US president.  It's time, Time.  It's time, WashPost.  It's time, HuffPo.  It's time, NYTimes.  It's well past time actually. Pull the plug.  The country will breathe a collective sigh of relief, and we all will have a fighting chance again to stop corporations from merging with government to give us our new fascist state.