Spirits in the material world

The Police manage to capture a collective feeling of unease in the phrase “our troubled evolution.” We know something has gone wrong. Our public forums pound incessantly at problems in economic and political realms, yet innately we know a vital fact is ignored–we are spiritual beings passing through a material world. And nothing will change unless we make that connection.

“Where does the answer lie? Living day to day.” This solution might sound flippant or cliché, but I prefer to interpret it as shorthand for living in the present moment, a profound and disciplined practice. It’s an inner revolution.

Spirits in the Material World

There is no political solution
To our troubled evolution
Have no faith in constitution
There is no bloody revolution

We are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world

Our so-called leaders speak
With words they try to jail you
The subjugate the meek
But it’s the rhetoric of failure
We are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world

Where does the answer lie?
Living from day to day
If it’s something we can’t buy
There must be another way

We are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world


Awake for a great revolution

There are all too many people who, in some great period of social change, fail to achieve the new mental outlooks that the new situation demands. There is nothing more tragic than to sleep through a revolution. There can be no gainsaying of the fact that a great revolution is taking place in our world today. It is a social revolution, sweeping away the old order of colonialism. And in our own nation it is sweeping away the old order of slavery and racial segregation. The wind of change is blowing, and we see in our day and our age a significant development. Victor Hugo said on one occasion that there is nothing more powerful in all the world than an idea whose time has come. In a real sense, the idea whose time has come today is the idea of freedom and human dignity. Wherever men are assembled today, the cry is always the same, “We want to be free.” And so we see in our own world a revolution of rising expectations. The great challenge facing every individual graduating today is to remain awake through this social revolution.

-Martin Luther King, Jr., Commencement address for Oberlin College, 1965


Rainn Wilson talks spiritual revolution

Rainn Wilson is not just the mustard shirt-wearing Dwight Schrute of NBC’s The Office. He’s a big thinker, originator of the website SoulPancake and author of the book of the same name.

In this video he talks about the coming revolution:

I think there’s another revolution coming in the next ten years, and I think it needs to be a spiritual revolution, because our system is just too corrupt and broken… the engines of everything are broken.

The young people, like they did in the ’60s, they’re going to need to take the reins here, to look at the world in a fresh new way and say, “Enough is enough, you guys screwed up, we need to take our planet back.”

I think part of that revolution, part of that journey, needs to be spiritual. It needs to be with a heart-based wisdom that goes hand in hand with science and social activism and love for our planet and our whole human family.

Cool Hero of the Day: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Speech at Riverside Church, April 4, 1967

…the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.” We in the West must support these revolutions.

It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

Occupy Converges in a National General Assembly

IMAG0328 by 13lucie

Occupiers from around the country convened a “National General Assembly” tonight prior to a planned “Day of Action” on Wednesday.

Protestors from numerous Occupy groups flocked to DC in sync with the week-long “Take Back the Capitol,” which was coordinated mostly by unions to affect jobs legislation.

Locations represented included Portland, Chicago, Saginaw, Miami, Houston, Indiana, St. Louis, Charleston, WV, Wisconsin, Kennebunkport, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Boston, Los Angeles and even one Occupier from Honolulu, Hawaii.

The biggest cheers were reserved for the evicted Occupier from Portland, OR, where heavy-handed police crackdowns caused severe injury to Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen.

Wednesday’s “Day of Action” will begin at 11am with a protest at a lobbying firm which represents Bank of America and BP followed by a march to the White House. Another protest will occur at 5:30pm at the US Supreme Court. Several protestors plan to commit civil disobedience resulting in arrest on the Supreme Court steps.

Calling all Cool Heroes

Robert Thurman, Buddhist scholar and author of Inner Revolution, speaks through the human mic at Occupy Wall Street on October 13, 2011:

Everyone here is an example of something I’ve been wishing for for many years. You are what I call “cool heroes.” By cool I mean nonviolent. Cool heroes are people who are forceful, intelligent, just, and insightful, who can speak up loudly and clearly, but without getting angry or indulging in hatred.

We need cool heroes today.