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Issue #1398 - Thursday, April 10, 2003 - Editor: Jerry
Some nice music at this link: http://www.michaelstearns.com/1999-Present.html#The%20Storm
Spiritual ChicksSM Top Ten!
honor of Women's History month, here's our list of the
Top Ten Spiritual Chicks of all time.
1. Eve. The original Spiritual Chick. We can debate forever whether Eve did the right thing by tempting Adam with that Apple, but there's no doubt that she was a free-thinker who really questioned authority...the ultimate authority. Now that takes guts.
2. Venus of
Willendorf (24,000-22,000 BCE).
3. Yu Niu
(somewhere between 770 BC - 221AD) Thought the fighting
women in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon were just
characters pulled from someone's imagination? Think
again! Yu Niu was the best swordsman of her period.
According to Chinese history she beat over 3000 swordsmen
in a seven-day contest. Jet Li, move over.
4. Namnah bat HaLevi of Baghdad (11th Century). While today she'd probably be chair of the Judaic Studies Department at a major University, in 11th century Persia, Namnah, an expert in Talmud, had to teach through a window on the top floor of a Yeshiva while her male students listened from below so that they could not see her. Although there is no surviving record of what she said, her grave was venerated by Persian Jews for centuries.
5. Joan of
Arc (1412-1431) Talk about standing
up for what you believe, Joan of Arc took on the whole
English Army for God-and her beloved France.
Truth (~1797-1883) Born into slavery in
New York, a mystical awakening led Sojourner Truth to a
kick-ass career as an abolitionist and proponent of
Besant (1847-1933). A passionate
risk-taker, Annie Besant's journey from pastor's wife to
radical free-thinker and social reformer led her to
become the leader of The Theosophical Society.
8. Peace Pilgrim (~1908-1981). During her life as Peace Pilgrim, Mildred Norman Ryder walked more then 25,000 miles across the United States. Talking with people from all walks of life along the way, she spread her message that world peace will occur when enough people have attained inner peace. "Why do you look at me? Look at your own self. Why do you listen to me? Listen to your own self. Why do you believe in what I say? Do not believe in me or any other teacher, rather trust in your own inner voice. This is your guide, this is your teacher. Your teacher is within not without. Know yourself, not me!"
Katie (1942-present). After an
awakening in 1986, Byron Katie began using her four
question method of inquiry to show people the futility of
fighting reality and the beauty of loving what is. And,
she really walks her talk. In her presence, enlightenment
seems almost possible.
Underground School Teachers of Afghanistan. Denied
the right to an education under the Taliban regime, many
women have risked their lives to provide schooling for
Afghan girls. These women prove that even under the most
desperate conditions, life will not be held down.
nominations from our readers:
Casarjian is the executive director and
founder of The Lionheart Foundation. (www.lionheart.org)
She wrote the ground breaking book Houses of
Healing: A Prisoner's Guide to Inner Power and
Freedom. Lionheart's National Emotional
Literacy Program for prisoners provides a path to
behavioral change, dignity, and respect---for oneself and
for others--- allowing many of our prisoners to heal
and return to their families and society as whole,
name is Cheri Huber and she
is an American Zen teacher. But she might dislike it if
she heard me use the word teacher. She prefers the word,
"guide." And her life's work is to guide people
to the place within themselves that is joyful and
peaceful and full of compassion. She guides us out of the
world of self-hate through a practice of observing what
we are being told about ourselves and continually seeing
how often what we are told is not true. She believes that
we all have everything we need to know within us. That we
can find everything we need within us. That we are all
adequate to any life experience. That' swhy she doesn't
see herself as a "teacher." She always says she
is just a mirror for us, allowing us to see ourselves and
recognize what is true for each of us. (www.cherihuber.com)
Also nominated were Caroline Myss. -- CAS
check out White
Fire: A Portrait of Women Spiritual Leaders in America, by Rabbi
Malka Drucker (SkyLight Paths Publishing).
SM & Copyright © 2003 K. Weissman & T. Coyne
April 7, 2003
It appears that the Bush administration will have succeeded in
colonizing Iraq sometime in the next few days. This is a blunder of
such magnitude -- and we will pay for it for years to come. It was not
worth the life of one single American kid in uniform, let alone the
thousands of Iraqis who have died, and my condolences and prayers go
out to all of them.
So, where are all those weapons of mass destruction that were the
pretense for this war? Ha! There is so much to say about all this, but
I will save it for later.
What I am most concerned about right now is that all of you -- the
majority of Americans who did not support this war in the first place
-- not go silent or be intimidated by what will be touted as some great
military victory. Now, more than ever, the voices of peace and truth
must be heard. I have received a lot of mail from people who are
feeling a profound sense of despair and believe that their voices have
been drowned out by the drums and bombs of false patriotism.
Some are afraid of retaliation at work or at school or in their
neighborhoods because they have been vocal proponents of peace. They
have been told over and over that it is not "appropriate" to protest
once the country is at war, and that your only duty now is to "support
Can I share with you what it's been like for me since I used my time on
the Oscar stage two weeks ago to speak out against Bush and this war? I
hope that, in reading what I'm about to tell you, you'll feel a bit
more emboldened to make your voice heard in whatever way or forum that
is open to you.
When "Bowling for Columbine" was announced as the Oscar winner for Best
Documentary at the Academy Awards, the audience rose to its feet. It was
a great moment, one that I will always cherish. They were standing and
cheering for a film that says we Americans are a uniquely violent
people, using our massive stash of guns to kill each other and to use
them against many countries around the world. They were applauding a
film that shows George W. Bush using fictitious fears to frighten the
public into giving him whatever he wants. And they were honoring a film
that states the following: The first Gulf War was an attempt to
reinstall the dictator of Kuwait; Saddam Hussein was armed with weapons
from the United States; and the American government is responsible for
the deaths of a half-million children in Iraq over the past decade
through its sanctions and bombing. That was the movie they were
cheering, that was the movie they voted for, and so I decided that is
what I should acknowledge in my speech.
And, thus, I said the following from the Oscar stage:
"On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan (from
Canada), I would like to thank the Academy for this award. I have
invited the other Documentary nominees on stage with me. They are here
in solidarity because we like non-fiction. We like non-fiction because
we live in fictitious times. We live in a time where fictitious
election results give us a fictitious president.
We are now fighting a war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the
fiction of duct tape or the fictitious 'Orange Alerts,' we are against
this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And, whenever
you've got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, you're time is
Halfway through my remarks, some in the audience started to cheer. That
immediately set off a group of people in the balcony who started to boo.
Then those supporting my remarks started to shout down the booers. The
L. A. Times reported that the director of the show started screaming at
the orchestra "Music! Music!" in order to cut me off, so the band
dutifully struck up a tune and my time was up. (For more on why I said
what I said, you can read the op-ed I wrote for the L.A. Times, plus
other reaction from around the country at my website
The next day -- and in the two weeks since -- the right-wing pundits and
radio shock jocks have been calling for my head. So, has all this
ruckus hurt me? Have they succeeded in "silencing" me?
Well, take a look at my Oscar "backlash":
On the day after I criticized Bush and the war at the Academy Awards,
attendance at "Bowling for Columbine" in theaters around the country
went up 110% (source:DailyVariety/BoxOfficeMojo.com). The following
weekend, the box office gross was up a whopping 73% (Variety). It is
now the longest-running consecutive commercial release in America, 26 weeks in a
row and still thriving. The number of theaters showing the film since
the Oscars has INCREASED, and it has now bested the previous box office
record for a documentary by nearly 300%.
Yesterday (April 6), "Stupid White Men" shot back to 1 on the New York
Times bestseller list. This is my book's 50th week on the list, 8 of
them at number one, and this marks its fourth return to the top
position, something that virtually never happens.
In the week after the Oscars, my website was getting 10-20 million hits
A DAY (one day we even got more hits than the White House!). The mail
has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive (and the hate mail has
In the two days following the Oscars, more people pre-ordered the video
for "Bowling for Columbine" on Amazon.com than the video for the Oscar
winner for Best Picture, "Chicago".
In the past week, I have obtained funding for my next documentary, and I
have been offered a slot back on television to do an updated version of
"TV Nation"/"The Awful Truth."
I tell you all of this because I want to counteract a message that is
told to us all the time -- that, if you take a chance to speak out
politically, you will live to regret it. It will hurt you in some way,
usually financially. You could lose your job. Others may not hire you.
You will lose friends. And on and on and on.
Take the Dixie Chicks. I'm sure you've all heard by now that, because
their lead singer mentioned how she was ashamed that Bush was from her
home state of Texas, their record sales have "plummeted" and country
stations are boycotting their music. The truth is that their sales are
NOT down. This week, after all the attacks, their album is still at 1
on the Billboard country charts and, according to Entertainment Weekly,
on the pop charts during all the brouhaha, they ROSE from 6 to 4. In
the New York Times, Frank Rich reports that he tried to find a ticket
to ANY of the Dixie Chicks' upcoming concerts but he couldn't because
they were all sold out. (To read Rich's column from yesterday's Times,
"Bowling for Kennebunkport," go here:
He does a pretty good job of laying it all out and talks about my next
film and the impact it could potentially have.) Their song, "Travelin'
Soldier" (a beautiful anti-war ballad) was the most requested song on
the internet last week. They have not been hurt at all -- but that is
not what the media would have you believe. Why is that? Because there
is nothing more important now than to keep the voices of dissent -- and
those who would dare to ask a question -- SILENT. And what better way
than to try and take a few well-known entertainers down with a pack of
lies so that the average Joe or Jane gets the message loud and clear:
"Wow, if they would do that to the Dixie Chicks or Michael Moore, what
would they do to little ol' me?" In other words, shut the f--- up.
And that, my friends, is the real point of this film that I just got an
Oscar for -- how those in charge use FEAR to manipulate the public into
doing whatever they are told.
Well, the good news -- if there can be any good news this week -- is
that not only have neither I nor others been silenced, we have been
joined by millions of Americans who think the same way we do. Don't let
the false patriots intimidate you by setting the agenda or the terms of
the debate. Don't be defeated by polls that show 70% of the public in
favor of the war. Remember that these Americans being polled are the
same Americans whose kids (or neighbor's kids) have been sent over to
Iraq. They are scared for the troops and they are being cowed into
supporting a war they did not want -- and they want even less to see
their friends, family, and neighbors come home dead. Everyone supports
the troops returning home alive and all of us need to reach out and let
their families know that.
Unfortunately, Bush and Co. are not through yet. This invasion and
conquest will encourage them to do it again elsewhere. The real purpose
of this war was to say to the rest of the world, "Don't Mess with Texas
- If You Got What We Want, We're Coming to Get It!" This is not the
time for the majority of us who believe in a peaceful America to be
quiet. Make your voices heard. Despite what they have pulled off, it is
still our country.
Spring has returned! Everything has returned!
The earth, just like a schoolgirl, memorizes
Poems, so many poems. ... Look, she has learned
So many famous poems, she has earned so many prizes!
Teacher was strict. We delighted in the white
Of the old man's beard, bright like the snow's:
Now we may ask which names are wrong, or right
For "blue," for "apple," for "ripe." She knows, she knows!
Lucky earth, let out of school, now you must play
Hide-and-seek with all the children every day:
You must hide that we may seek you: we will! We will!
The happiest child will hold you. She knows all the things
You taught her: the word for "hope," and for "believe,"
Are still upon her tongue. She sings and sings and sings.
~ Delmore Schwartz ~ from Panhala
Lawrence, You, Me of Arabia
now, I sip french vanilla coffee in a Toronto cybercafe. I see
images of war happening on this speck of a tiny quark of a planet
spinning in the awarenessverse bubble.
Here now, I see demi-gods hurling their bolts of fiery fury that
spread from mind to mind. Ancient battles re-enacted and prolonged.
Baghdad today to Damascus tomorrow to Tehran to Riyadh to North
Korea to Cairo to Kalamazoo and to my quiet neighborhood too.
Here now, in my Brigitte Bardo moment to moment rising and falling
dance of emptiness and form - here in unknowing.
Here now is the vast mandala.
Here now - Hell realm, Animal realm, Hungry Ghost realm, Human
realm, Warring God realm, Formless God realm.
Yesterday, I spoke to an old friend who said to me, "Violence? Oh
no - not me. I am for peace. I meditate. I eat fruit and vegetables.
Ahimsa is my solemn vow and way of life. I have experienced divine
real bliss and Love. I have tasted enlightenment beyond all duality."
I listened and recalled how someone once said that Shambhala abides
in the midst of it all.
Me - I abide in the midst of a cybercafe.
I will now send this silly message - this disappearing trace - an
atomic cloud display - and go pay the very nice Korean owner $4.00
for my hour of Net access - go home to feed the pregnant cat and
later - try to go visit my dying father.
Lawrence: I killed two people. One was yesterday. He was just a boy,
and I led him into quicksand. The other was... well... before Aqaba.
I had to execute him with my pistol, and there was something about
it that I didn't like.
General Allenby: That's to be expected.
Lawrence: No, something else.
General Allenby: Well, then let it be a lesson.
Lawrence: No... something else.
General Allenby: What then?
Lawrence: I enjoyed it.
--I bow to Him in
the lotus of the heart, who is without any speciality,
without desires, One to be Known through Vishnu, Mahadeva, and
Prajapati Brahma, One to be meditated upon by Yogins, One beyond
the fear of life and death, the Self of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, the source of the seeds of the whole universe---God, the Self of the Knowledge of Brahman.
--Mahanirvan Tantra from Sri Sankaracharya list
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