Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Via Ram Dass

I began to see that my work was purification. It was getting my theme straight, it was lightening up my attachments, getting out of living such a complicated life, simplifying my life, relating to other human beings, so that when I met another person, I found the place in them where we are, and I didn’t get caught and lost in the melodrama of our relationships.

- Ram Dass -

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 06/28/17

A child is born with the need for exclusive love. It wants the father’s or mother’s love only for itself. To love exclusively is impossible and so even if the child had loving and conscious parents, inevitably it would feel frustration at not having been loved. As such, this frustration is part of the design on this plane. It is due to this need that we develop the false idea that we have enemies. Unavoidably, our first enemies are our parents because they were unable to love us exclusively. From this point on, we begin to construct projects of our pacts of revenge.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: The Awakened Heart

There’s nothing as impoverished as the deeply unawakened heart; and nothing enriches us more, and brings more life and meaningfulness, than the awakened heart.

—Christina Feldman, “Doing, Being, and the Great In-Between

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Palestra: Budismo e suas Práticas no ocidente / salão nobre da escola minas Museu de Ciência e Técnica da Escola de Minas



The Buddha described his teaching as “going against the stream.” The unflinching light of mindful awareness reveals the extent to which we are tossed along in the stream of past conditioning and habit.



Buda descreveu o seu ensinamento como "indo contra o fluxo". A luz implacável da consciência consciente revela até que ponto somos lançados no fluxo dos condicionamentos e hábitos passados.



O que é uma Sangha? Uma Sangha é uma comunidade de amigos praticando o Dharma juntos de forma a fazer acontecer e manter a consciência. A essência da Sangha é consciência, entendimento, aceitação, harmonia e amor. Quando våocê não vê isto em uma comunidade, não é uma verdadeira Sangha e você deveria ter a coragem de dizer. Mas quando você encontra esses elementos presentes em uma comunidade, sabe que tem a felicidade e a sorte de estar em uma Sangha real.

Last night the Cambridge City Council passed a resolution honoring the Bicentenary of the birth of the Founder of the Baha'i Faith. Here is the text and a picture of the Council.

Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, people standing and suit

Last night the Cambridge City Council passed a resolution honoring the Bicentenary of the birth of the Founder of the Baha'i Faith. Here is the text and a picture of the Council.

WHEREAS: October 21-22, 2017 marks the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith; and

WHEREAS: Bahá’u’lláh called for fellowship and collaboration among the followers of all religions, while religious hatred and fanaticism continue to fuel violence, tyranny, and terrorism; and

WHEREAS: Bahá’u’lláh affirmed the equality of women and men, while the oppression of women still holds back the progress of so many societies; and

WHEREAS: Bahá’u’lláh taught that humanity is one family and called for the elimination of racism and racial prejudice, while racism remains a persistent evil; and

WHEREAS: Bahá’u’lláh declared that universal education is required for societies to succeed, while universal access to education is still unattained; and

WHEREAS: Bahá’u’lláh called for limits on the extremes of poverty and wealth, while billions still live in destitution and a large portion of the world’s wealth is owned by a few elites; and

WHEREAS: Bahá’u’lláh urged the leaders of the world to abandon their nationalistic rivalries and create a system of collective security, while their failure to do this has caused two world wars, multiple other conflicts, and a massive global arms trade; and

WHEREAS: The wide gap between these ideals and the state of the world calls for people of all faiths and no faith to rise above narrow partisanship and work together for human understanding and peace; now therefore be it

RESOLVED: That the City of Cambridge, in recognition of the significance of this bicentenary, urges all citizens to work for the realization of the principles of peace, justice, and human solidarity promoted by Bahá’u’lláh.

Via Baha’i Story Project: A Baha’i Parent’s Epiphany Story Entry

(An unpublished essay written by a mom, in hopes that our family's experience will be of interest to other Baha'i families with a gay child, in supporting him or her in love and unity:)

May 30, 2012. It was an ordinary day in an ordinary place, when my cell phone rang in the K-Mart parking lot. It was always a pleasure to hear from our 28-year-old son, though on this occasion it was not clear as to what was on his mind. I asked the usual “mom” question to draw him out: “How’s your social life?” (The predictable answer was that he was “talking to a girl,” but that she was not his “type.”)

Today, however, he replied in a voice heavy with resignation: “That’s a story for another day . . . .” 

For some strange reason, I gently dared to ask: “Alex, are you . . . gay? In the uncomfortable, prolonged silence which followed, I steeled myself for the unexpected reply: “Yes,” he said in a breaking voice. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say.” Though my world had just experienced a seismic event, nevertheless my heart immediately went out to our brave, youngest child—ever truthful, even when it was the hardest thing he had ever had to say.

During the remainder of that phone call, I learned everything I did not know about what it meant to be gay, as he patiently answered my many questions. My mental adjustment was almost instantaneous: our beloved son was now our beloved gay son. My emotional adjustment was just beginning.

Over the coming days, I searched my cerebral cortex for subtle clues that would point to homosexuality. Certainly our son was the picture of masculinity. But . . . yes—there was Alex’s lukewarm interest in an internet dating site to which my husband, with the best of intentions, had unwittingly subscribed on his behalf. And yes, there was the hint that most girls weren’t his type. Yes, our son would often insist, enigmatically, that he wasn’t “as good” as I thought he was. . . . And yes, there was Alex’s one gay friend to whom I’d been introduced; that would be Chris—now known to be the love of his life.

It was a revelation, that day in May, that already he and Chris had made sensible plans for a future together. Already they had become legal domestic partners, and Chris’s house would soon be their shared home. . . . The following summer, after the passing in November 2012 of a State referendum permitting same-sex marriage, they would be legally married in a moving and sanctified ceremony. Leave it to Alex to do it with grace and class, and make us proud.

My husband, too, searched for missed clues as to his son’s “natural nature,” and brought to mind a branch on his family tree consisting of aunts, uncles, and cousins who had never married—as was the case with his own bachelor brother. Dad has become a vocal proponent of same-sex marriage in his own circles. To Alex, he cheerfully rationalized that the new state of affairs was “Plan B.”

That our own religion (Baha’i) condemned the very idea of Alex and Chris’s relationship was a bitter pill to swallow. My therapy was to take up the violin. The violin sang sweet midnight songs to soothe my conflicted soul. It intoned simple harmonies to distract from the dissonant clashing of faith and reason, of immutable dogma and evident truth. It wept for all gay youth rejected and disowned for coming out; for those who were forced to live a lie; and for the more devout among them who contemplated in lonely distress the cruel fates which awaited “sinners” with wayward inclinations. 

Ultimately, I had to choose between allegiance to God’s Will as interpreted by my faith (which requires celibacy on the part of homosexual members)— and supporting the love of two guys who intended to become family. Love won. In the interest of personal integrity, I had no choice but to formally withdraw from the faith to which I had given about 37 years of my life.

Had our son continued to bear his burden of guilt in silence, this family’s story, like others, could have ended badly. Alex’s coming out was the demarcation between darkness and light, for himself and for those whose lives he has touched. As for me, this being my story, his painful revelation in May was the pivotal moment when latent homophobia, bred of ignorance and holy writ, was replaced by compassion and understanding. My epiphany on May 30, 2012 was a blessing. I was blind—but in a dizzying, transformative, lightning flash, I saw.

Read the original and more here

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 06/27/17

“The soul is drawn to this plane to experience the world of matter and by incarnating in a body, it is inevitably subjected to the laws of material, one of which is the law of duality. To have an experience here on Earth, it is necessary to pay the price of having your vision clouded by the illusory veil of duality. The perception of  reality, in which the Being is in a state of oneness, is limited and we feel separate from life and from others. The essence of the ego is the idea of self.  We are taken to believe that separation exists between ‘I’ and ‘you’  and from this idea of separation, many other false ideas and layers are born that develop into all kinds of suffering.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Stop Feeding the Pain Pattern

When we meditate, we are training the mind to stop feeding a pain pattern.

—Ruth King, “Soothing the Hot Coals of Rage

Monday, June 26, 2017

Via The NewYorker: Kids Attend Drag Queen Story Hour


A new reading series at the Brooklyn Public Library introduces elements of gender bending and camp to little ones. 

On a recent Saturday morning, about two dozen small children and their parents gathered in the Park Slope branch of the Brooklyn Public Library for a new reading series. There were pregnant women with tattoos, breast-feeding moms, and a little girl in pink ballerina gear climbing on the laps of her two dads. Many of the kids, who ranged in age from newborn to five years old, wore tiny T-shirts showcasing their parents’ favorite bands (Nirvana, David Bowie) or political views (one read, “The Future Is Female”).

The event was hosted by Michelle Tea, a writer from Los Angeles, who started attending library story hours after becoming a mom. “Story time rises or falls on the charisma of the storyteller,” she said. “Some seemed to have a personality disorder or didn’t even like children.” She’d brought her partner, Dashiell Lippman, and their two-year-old son, Atticus, who had a haircut that resembled David Beckham’s. “He is pretty butch—we call him Fratticus,” Tea said. “I’m always pushing a tutu on him, but he’s, like, ‘No.’ ”

Tea’s solution, called Drag Queen Story Hour, introduces elements of gender bending and camp. “I have long thought that drag queens need to be the performers at children’s parties, rather than magicians or clowns,” she said. “Drag has become more mainstream. Kids might have seen one on a billboard or on TV.”

Rachel Aimee was at the library because she had seen a Facebook post about the series. “I work at the Feminist Press and thought, Maybe we could present it,” she said. “The thing that first struck me was it’s all about dressing up and being pretty without the baggage of gender coding. As a parent, I’ve been looking for something like that.”

“Yeah, it’s just fun and glitter,” said Tea, who was wearing animal-print palazzo pants and had a red heart tattoo on each of her fingers.

Having a six-year-old daughter has made Aimee question some of her feminist beliefs. “She got really into watching ‘Barbie: Life in the Dream House,’ ” Aimee said. “How could I tell her not to watch it? It has a thousand girls and only, like, two boys in it. I would be teaching her that shows about girls are bad.”

At eleven o’clock, Tea made her way to the front of the room. “Do you all know what a drag queen is?” she asked the children. “Drag queens are amazing. They get to do fun things like dance and sing and travel and play dress-up with their drag-queen friends. And they’re all feminists.” The parents chuckled politely.

The drag queen Lil Miss Hot Mess came out, wearing a white sequinned tunic dress and matching heels, bright-pink tights, and a curly auburn wig. (She has performed at Bushwig, a drag festival, and at SFMOMA.) She declined to give her birth name but said that she is a graduate student in media studies at N.Y.U. She put on black owlish reading glasses, sat on a folding chair, and addressed her audience: “Can everyone say, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a drag queen’?”

The children just stared.

She would be reading from “Tatterhood,” a collection of feminist folktales, which had originally been published by the Feminist Press, in the nineteen-seventies. The title story, from Norway, features a feisty goat-riding heroine who fights off angry trolls with a spoon.



 

Via Organizing for Action


Organizing for Action

On October 10th, 2015, I married my partner, Stephen. We'd met in Washington, D.C., bonded over our shared Boston background, and traveled all across the U.S. together.

So naturally our wedding was in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Two years earlier, I'd accepted President Obama's invitation to become the Ambassador to Denmark. Stephen and I had gradually settled into our new city. We'd learned of its proud history as the world's first nation to recognize same-sex marriages.

And so we stood at Copenhagen City Hall, the spot of the very first same-sex marriages -- 26 years earlier -- and said our vows. It made it even more special that the U.S. had legalized same-sex marriage nationwide just four months earlier.

In that moment, though, what I felt had nothing to do with politics. It was personal -- the same little moments and feelings that everyone experiences on their wedding day: Love. Friendship. Family. All of the good things. All of the happy words.

To deny anyone the happiness we felt that day is inconceivable. And as I look at the progress we've made, I know how important it is to keep fighting.

Since our wedding day, we've been overwhelmed by the good happening in communities around the country. The people in the LGBTQ community who bravely share their story. The people who listen to them.

The marches.

Our marches have always been more than celebrations. They're how we defend our hard-won advances -- and how we clear a path for the issues that we still need to tackle. As this administration threatens our progress, that's never been more true.

That energy is where my pride comes from. Because if there's one thing that has been true for every single progressive issue in our country, it's that sweeping change -- the kind we look back on and say, "Well, this was inevitable" -- really isn't. It comes from us.

So I say to everyone, both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ: Show up this month. Be loud. Be proud. And don't forget the work we still have to do. Stand with OFA now:

Add your voice

Thanks,

Rufus

Rufus Gifford
Former United States Ambassador to Denmark

Via Ram Dass

When I go out into the woods, and I look at trees, I say, “Oh, look at that one, oh look at that one, oh how interesting!” I don’t ask why an Elm isn’t an Oak… I just appreciate them for what they are.

Somehow it’s different when I get near humans, I somehow feel that it’s a whole different category, and I move into my judging mode, saying, “If that person was more like that person, things would be better.”

Now I don’t elevate human relationships that much. I see them as just more of the interaction with the phenomenal world, and another person is a set of phenomena manifested, and I see that I'm getting upset because somebody is a certain way, I take that upset and ask, “Why am I upset?” I realize that a part of my upset is because I have a model that I am holding of how the world should be other than the way it is.

I have the choice of either trying to change the world to adhere to my model, or let go of my model to be with the world.

-- Ram Dass --

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 06/26/17

“When you see yourself feeling pleasure and feeding on scenes of violence, try to observe who in you is enjoying this. If you can, close your eyes and stay silent for one minute. You will see that there is a suffering self feeding on negative emotions like anger, fear and revenge. In this case, if you want to decondition the mind and reprogram past patterns; if you want to divorce your vital energy from suffering so that your pleasure may be positively oriented, stop feeding this cruelty and turn off the television or computer.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: The Pure Land Is in This Life

I don’t envision a single thing that, when undeveloped, leads to such great harm as the mind . . . . I don’t envision a single thing that, when developed, leads to such great benefit as the mind.

—The Buddha, “The Single Thing

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 06/25/17

“Many people take pleasure in watching violent scenes and unaware of this, end up feeding their own suffering. The one who feels pleasure in the other’s suffering is the suffering self, an entity that feeds on negative emotions and cruelty, even if it’s just a movie. This is a form of negatively oriented pleasure. It means that the vital energy is joined together with suffering.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: The Pure Land Is in This Life

The Pure Land isn’t like heaven, because it’s not a place that you go to—it’s more a state of mind, and it can be accessed in this life.

—Reverend Patricia Kanaya Usuki, “The Great Compassion

Corruption is Legal in America


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 06/24/17

“When I say that we need to free ourselves from the past to become truly free, I am referring specifically to the pacts of revenge we carry. These pacts are what keep us trapped in the suffering we experienced in our past. Many unconsciously choose not to succeed in life in order to take revenge, just as they choose to use their life energy to sustain and feed their negative patterns and addictions. These negative behaviors which repeat indicate that our consciousness is imprisoned somewhere in the past.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Keep All Views in Check

Views are colorful and interesting and life-enhancing—as long as we know they are views.

—A. J. Bocchino, “Beyond Language

VIA FB:

“When people are ready to, they change. They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it. You can't make them change if they don't want to, just like when they do want to, you can't stop them.” 

― Andy Warhol ―