Ev'rything is Satisfactual: The impossible will take a little while    
 The impossible will take a little while10 comments
picture12 Nov 2005 @ 00:53, by Uncle Remus


The passing away of Rosa Parks comes as a reminder of another time, a bygone era when strong connections still used to link activism and spiritual practice. A connection that is not gone, maybe, but which has lost a lot of its momentum, and which is even sometimes frowned upon in certain contemporary spiritual circles.

The new spiritual movements of our era, like the New Age, which begun as a rather dynamic, promising eclectic, free-flowing, counter-cultural spiritual movement, have, it seems, easily, happily, and sometimes eagerly allowed themselves to be absorbed and mollified overtime by the dominant culture of their era. And those, which haven't, see themselves as separate from society and do not want to have anything to do with it. No more Gandhi, no more Rosa Parks. Just don't pay any attention to the merchants in the Temple. Mind your own business. Transform yourselves. Absorb all the energy you can from that crystal around your neck. Just don't try to change the world.

Mark Haris examining the use of New Age buzzwords such as "empowerment" and "prosperity consciousness," in an article, dated November 1999, that he wrote for Conscious Choice, ( a piece about Paul Loeb’s book - Soul of a Citizen,) noted that "it is rare that New Age writers, ministers, or others who use such concepts ever apply them to community issues or social campaigns to improve peoples' situations":

You Create Your Own Reality — Sort Of

"You are your own reality," proclaims Deepak Chopra. "You create it. You carry it around with you." Such thinking, Loeb notes, reduces the world to nothing but individual problems, accompanied by what he describes as a "willful insensitivity" to social context. How else could a woman attending a Seattle New Age conference explain that welfare recipients "just need to wake up and realize their mythic selves?"

It's a common limitation in the self-help mindset. "You are not the victim of circumstances," writes "New Thought" minister Eric Butterworth in Spiritual Economics (Unity Books, 1993). "Admit to yourself that your present experience, even the condition of your bank account, reflects your present level of awareness....If, however, the cause is "out there" in people or circumstances, then there is little you can do."

Of course, it's healthful to cultivate a positive, stress-hardy outlook. And we all have to take personal responsibility for our lives. Yet why if the cause is "out there," is there then "little you can do?" If a person cannot afford health insurance, is this only their individual problem, demanding only an individual solution? Might it also have something to do with a certain social reality, namely, that 45 million other people also cannot afford insurance? And is there no political solution to that problem?

"The most troublesome consequences of this type of thinking," concludes Loeb, "is that it exempts even the most powerful economic, political, and social institutions from all responsibility for the state of society. Take the extreme case of slavery. Who created that reality? Was it the slaves or the slave masters who needed to wake up and think about their actions? Such contemporary social problems as unemployment, discrimination, and inadequate health care may not be as dramatic as slavery, but no amount of positive thinking or self-actualization is going to solve them without common public action."

If the only reality is the one you personally create, and the challenge is only that of "saying no to negativity," then there is no room for legitimate anger at injustice in the world. Indeed, some would argue that anger is always a spiritual detriment, always negative. Imagine, Loeb wryly notes, if Jesus had proclaimed in Chopra-like fashion, "I was going to throw the money changers out of the temple, but I didn't want to be a negative person."

Without the capacity for anger we "tolerate the intolerable," as the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, a Yale chaplain who became one of the leading theologians to oppose the Vietnam War, once said. The larger challenge is not to avoid or deny our anger, but to express and channel it, appropriately and effectively, into positive action on behalf of human dignity and justice.

(...)

If Peace Begins with Me, It Continues with Us

If peace begins with me, as one popular New Age slogan proclaims, then it continues with us, in our ongoing efforts to refashion the world for the good of all. For spiritual transformation, in its most holistic sense, cannot be separated from social activism and change.


Mark Harris: Social Activism in Cynical Times - Self-Help for Society



The Impossible Will Take a Little While is a phrase borrowed from Billie Holiday (Crazy He Calls Me: "The difficult I'll do right now. The impossible will take a little while.") It is also the title of Paul Loeb’s last book, published Aug. 2004.


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10 comments

12 Nov 2005 @ 10:15 by jazzolog : Fine Post
with lots to chew on. Thanx Remus. Oh...Crazy He Calls Me is an American ballad that Billie didn't write but, as I'm sure Remus means, used to sing in knockout fashion. However there're lots of other versions, especially Aretha's which is almost as good as Lady Day's!  


12 Nov 2005 @ 13:51 by swan : I believe,
to a certain extent that we create our reality. The problem in that kind of thinking is it disallows social conditioning. Maybe it is true that I chose a certain reality before I was born so I could learn certain lessons. Can I be sure about that? That is hard to answer. And if I can't remember that I did that than it doesn't really matter in the the scheme of things in my life, until a certain point when I do remember. So...If everyone on earth created a certain reality before they were born to learn lessons and than forgot they did it, we work with what we have.

When we are children we are socialized according to our parents belief systems which may or may not be faulty. On top of that we are socialized by teachers, our church if we are a member, media, etc. If we don't come to the place were we question our programming and try to change it we are stuck in the cycle. Are we victims? I believe we always have some kind of choice.

As a therapist, I work with people who for the most part live in poverty. The kind of poverty where they don't have jobs or have low paying jobs, live on food stamps, have children with disabilities, some have mental illness of their own and have little hope. I really believe in the work that I do because I do empower them and I do help raise their poverty consciousness. I hold each of my clients in love and help them recognize their strengths and values and teach them that they do have options. When my work with them is finished, sometimes after a year sometimes longer, they are changed. It might be just in small ways but it happens. They learn that they do have power and they do have choices. Like the title of this article says " the impossible will take a little while". but I believe it will happen, it is happening and I am not the only one doing this work. If I help one family stand up and protest because of the system they are in and the government that has created it, than there is one more family who can help things change. If I help just one family learn that they can change their reality my work has been worth it.

I may or may not impact the world someday in a big way, but right now I am chipping away at the problem, one family at a time. I feel that creating a new civilization is a slow process, we don't just pop into a new reality. When we do shift into a new reality/new civilization it will be because of a lot of hard work with each person doing his or her part.

I am committed to my personal path of evolution everyday, sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is down right messy and difficult, because the work is not in some "new age higher realm", it is here on earth where it is dense and challenging. I am not only committed to my own evolution I am also committed to supporting others who want to evolve and that is why I always say that a new civilization happens one person at a time.

So I think we can and do create our reality, but there is nothing we can do about it if we don't know that we do/are.

(By the way, this is not a testimonial, it is my thoughts on what is said in your article which I feel is a fine post, as Richard said.)  



13 Nov 2005 @ 22:13 by uncleremus : I hear you, Swan

Thank you for your time and thank you for sharing where you come from on all this and how your beliefs have been shaping some of the things you do, especially with regard to your work with people who for the most part live in poverty

"If we don't come to the place were we question our programming and try to change it we are stuck..."
----12 Nov 2005 @ 13:51 by swan

In his book, “The Outsider,” Colin Wilson, referred to that phenomenon in these terms:

"Imagine a large castle on an island, with almost inescapable dungeons. The jailor has installed every device to prevent the prisoners escaping, and he has taken one final precaution: that of hypnotizing the prisoners, and then suggesting to them that they and the prison are one. When one of the prisoners awakes to the fact that he would like to be free, and suggests this to his fellow prisoners, they look at him with surprise and say: 'Free from what? We are the castle.' What a situation!"

As I said earlier on, on another post, let me try and be very clear about this, least it be misunderstood (I feel, we went off on a bad start on that other post, for no good reasons at all,) I have no issue whatsoever with any of the things you are talking about, Swan. How could I? I mean how could anyone in his or her right mind do? The world needs people doing the kind of things you are talking about (let’s refer to this as, say, type A, kind of things) people helping the "prisoners" in small or big ways, people helping people who have fallen though the cracks of the system, or people who are, or have become dysfunctional for one reason or another, or people who need help because they have, to some degree, lost track of who they are. Is that even a question? But, then, again, I have no issue either with people who are focusing their efforts on "the prison" itself (let’s call this, say, type B, kind of things,) or people who are addressing some of the "devices" (political, economical, etc.) that they feel are contributing to keeping things (things that can and should be changed) the way they are; nor do I have any issue with people who are denouncing those who have become the jailors (sometimes their own jailors,) some of them, unwittingly so, some of them very knowingly so (let’s call the people who deal with that issue, say, type C kind of people,) or people who are working on new "devices" aimed at changing things (system thinkers - let’s call them type D, kind of people,) etc. The world needs all kind of people. I don’t have any issue with the way anyone is approaching things, here. Some people seem to, however. And this is where I have been coming from, for quite a few posts already. If I have any concern at all, it would be with people on this network who militate for the suppression of B or C or D or E in the name of A---and vice versa---some of them, covertly so, some other very openly and very aggressively so. I would also be concerned with people who would try to plant their A flag (or any other kind of denominational flag) on NCN, and claim "NCN IS ABOUT A and nothing else" (and judging from your blog and your comment above, I do not believe, Swan, that you are one of these people.) I would be concerned because this is not what NCN is about; NCN mission statement makes it very clear that it is not what NCN is about. One thing I have noticed----it would be hard not to----is that there always seem to be some kind of war brewing (sometimes it’s a cold war, and sometimes it’s a full fledge one) between the type A people ("conscious evolution comes from the inside, one person at a time") and the type B kind of people ("conscious evolution comes from the outside, through activism") while NCN makes it clear that NCN is not about A alone, nor about B alone, nor about C or D, or E, alone. NCN is about ALL of those things, A, B, C, D, E, and more. Especially when (despite what some would have us believe) A, B, C, D, E, etc… are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and the border (real or imagined) separating the so-called "inside" and "outside" world is of such an elusive nature. The fact that new NCN members are presented with the opportunity to take the Keirsey/Myers-Briggs personality test when they sign up is, one would believe, a testimony to that fact, and to the spirit of what NCN was meant to be about.  



13 Nov 2005 @ 22:28 by swan : I agree completely!
and I think the point I have been trying to make by using myself as an example is there are all kinds of way to create a New Civilization not just one that we should on jump on to and support. I am also concerned how some people, who might have the "A" agenda aggressively making those with "b, C, D" agendas wrong.  


14 Nov 2005 @ 03:43 by uncleremus : Cosante



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~Diego Hurtado de Mendoza  



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4 Mar 2016 @ 08:07 by DJ @184.170.27.145 : Progress
Amazing that this was written 10 years ago and we've hardly made any progress.  


4 Mar 2016 @ 08:09 by DJ @184.170.27.145 : Progress
Amazing that this was written 10 years ago and we've hardly made any progress.

I suppose I should take the title into consideration and be patient.

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