Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Condi, Peace and Annapolis

Condi, Peace and Annapolis.

I was in a small group last week where someone once more bewailed the Bush Administrations failed policies. If we believe in lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness, there is light to be seen today in the efforts of the U.S. Secretayr of State, Condoleeza Rice.

Condi has been traveling the Middle East non-stop for weeks on end to bring all partners to the negotiating table and may be succeeding. Some believe that she has decided that only this project, if successful, can redeem her diplomatic career and may establish a ""legacy" for herself. Those who do not believe in the traditional God - talk, still believe in a secular mortality, like George Washington’s freeing of one half of his slaves only because he knew that history would judge him accordingly.

This process, in the current mass media obsession with triviality, scandal and love of drama, has received little attention as yet. However, Condi is somehow managing to bring to the table key players who have not otherwise been involved in the Israeli - Palestinian standoff, for instance Syria and the Saudis. A total of 50 countries.

On the eve of the Bush administration's international conference to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a series of polls found widespread skepticism among Israelis and Palestinians about the ability of representatives of perhaps 50 countries gathering in Annapolis to solve this conflict.

Nearly three-quarters of Israelis expect the conference to lead to nothing. A majority of Palestinians expect that a failure at Annapolis will lead to a surge in violence. And while most people on both sides support peace talks, they aren't willing to make the painful sacrifices necessary to end the conflict.

In the Arab world, political commentary has been decidedly hostile. Most commentators suggest that the conference is a way to pressure Arabs to normalize relations with Israel. The word "normalization," which many Arabs interpret as defeat, crops up in nearly every Arabic-language print or broadcast item on the meeting.

Erfan Nizam al-Din, writing for the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat, condemned the talks in a tirade that accused President Bush of staging "a theatrical gesture" aimed at "saving face for the United States after a series of failures."

Not even the name of the host city is safe. A humorist at a Saudi-owned newspaper, taking advantage of the fact that "ana" in Arabic means "I" and that "police" is a word widely understood in the Middle East, put the sounds together and arrived at: Annapolis, or "I'm the police." That, he joked, was a message from Bush to Middle Eastern leaders.

"You remember that I am the police, and not only for the Middle East or for the peace process, but for the entire world," the humorist, Hamad al-Majid, wrote, imagining Bush's opening remarks.

Ben Caspit, a leading analyst for Israel's daily newspaper, Maariv may have captured the Israeli mood best when he derided Annapolis as "the most expensive photo-op in history."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas both face major problems within their spheres of influence

Nevertheless, some 50 countries are now meeting in Annapolis. Those who believe in the power of prayer and the research showing the actual effect of mass TM efforts will not overlook the ;potential in this event. The potential is large, Condi is relentless to save a legacy for herself, and never underestimate the power of a determined woman.

I happened last night upon the C-Span 2, Kennedy Center tribute to Eunice Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics and the interviews with her four children. If this is repeated, it is truly worth looking for. Failure was not an option. Maybe it is not here an option in Annapolis for Condi.

Prayerful people may want to add their 2-bits.


Paschal Baute. November 27.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


What Happened
by Scott McClellan
book to be released in early 2008

"The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself."

Scott admits that he participated, although unknowingly, in a cover up, concealing from the American people, the true story of who in the White House was responsible for blowin the cover of a CIA spy, in retaliation against her husband, who blew the cover on Bush's claim that Iraw was involved in getting uranium from Africa.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Story of the human mind

The Human Story
Draft 1.1
Toward the creation of a story that will add to my Out of the Box 101, Toward New Beginnings, collection of stories on CD. Paschal Baute
Nov 19

The greatest story today is Why there is anything at all? Or more personally How is it we humans are here with awareness? The mystery that no scientest or philosopher has been able to solve is the fact of human consciousness? How is it that this human brain, weighing a few pounds with trillions of cells and electomagnetic impulses can produce human consciousness:

The part of our world that is most difficult to our understanding at the moment is consciousness itself. “How could the electrochemical processes in the lump of gray matter that is our brain give rise to — or, even more mysteriously, be — the dazzling technicolor play of consciousness, with its transports of joy, its stabs of anguish and its stretches of mild contentment alternating with boredom?” Tim Holt , the Mind of a Rock.

This can be called “the most important problem in the biological sciences. ” It has been called “the last frontier of science.” It engrosses the intellectual energies of a worldwide community of brain scientists, psychologists, philosophers, physicists, computer scientists and even, from time to time, the Dalai Lama. Tim Holt

Storytelling may be the oldest human art, going back the the dawn of human consciousness, hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Perhaps the human brain developed not simply in order to survive by adaptation, but to be able to tell stories, to explain things, life - urgencies, both to itself and to others. So language developed in order to be able to explain things and to tell stories. The urgency to tell stories to oneself and to others is causing an explosion of human possibility on the Internet: MySpace, Facebook, and Youtube. There people are sharing wordc, music, photos, voice and video. \Story is the frame. Who am I, who are you? What are we about? Let us dream together, even across great distances.

"The human story is, of course, part of the cosmic story, as Brian Swimme so beautifully describes. Our bodies contain ancient hydrogen formed in the first moments of the universe. Our carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and all the other heavy elements in our bodies, are the gift of supernova stars. Our cells have been perfected by the patient workings of countless bacteria through billions of years, and our organs are the gift of thousands of species that evolved during the past billion years. Our bodies are, in a sense, simply a regrouping of very ancient materials.

"Yet the whole is more than just the sum of its parts, and the coming of the human form opened up a new chapter in evolution, quickened its pace, just as earlier the formation of planets opened new possibilities within cosmic evolution and the invention of sex accelerated life evolution."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chapter Two. Eve is Sad and then Delighted.

Chapter Two.
Eve is sad and then delighted.
From a CD of stories by Paschal Baute
entitled “Out of the Box, 101. Stories for a New Beginning.”
Release date, Spring, 2008

Once upon a time, way back when, God found Eve sitting with her face in her hands, looking very sad, dejected and crying.

What’s the matter, my darling daughter Eve?”

“Oh God, this Adam guy of yours, he keeps blaming me for all that has happened. Eating the fruit, listening t the Serpent, getting banished from the Garden. Anything bad that happens turns out to be my fault. Apparently I started it all - downhill.” And She cried.

Through her tears, she asked, “Is that true? Was it all my fault?”

God laughed and clapped his hands. “I am so glad you asked, Eve. My sacred writers could not get all that sorted out right. I just had to live with their confusion, and anyone who pays attention will notice that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are contradictory.”

“Then what really happened?” Asked Eve

“I love it when humans ask and especially when they question.” God chuckled.

“Can you imagine that I, being God, didn’t know what would happen? When I gave you that beautiful garden full of delicious fruit and said ‘Do not eat from that One tree,’ can you imagine that I, God, did not know what I was doing?” God laughed out loud. “By forbidding that one tree, don’t you think I knew I was making that one tree the most attractive tree in the entire garden, the fruit most juicy?. Really, Eve. I may be God but I am not stupid.

Eve’s eyes got bigger, she lifted her head, and now she was really listening.

God continued. “Do you think the serpert talked on his own?” God laughed. “He works for me. Didn’t the serpent say “You will not die? You didn’t die you? Did the serpent say, you would know the difference between good and evil? And so it happened! It is true, isn’t it? You see? The Serpent works for me, it was all part of my plan. Serpent voiced the provocation you needed?

Eve said, plaintily, “...we needed?”

“Yes,” said God, laughing again, “Until you ate of that tree, you were like all the other critters in the garden - not knowing the difference between good and evil. Now to be HUMAN, you must know the difference between good and evil. I intended, wanted, no craved that you would so eat!”

“But you told us not to,” said Eve, wondering.

Yeah, baby, but. I did not give you any reasons! Only “Because I said so.” Let me make it clear what is going on here that my sacred writers never sorted out.

“The way you humans will grow in your humanity is by standing up to unreasonable authority. I expect you to stand up against monarchs, kings, emperors and dictators. Only by doing over a long period of time will you eventually discover something no writers of the bible even dreamed of. A society built upon human rights.”

Eve’s eyes could not be bigger. She was open mouthed in amazement. “You mean,” she said, “It was ALL part of your plan?”

“Of course, darling daughter,” and God smiled.

“Really?” said Eve.

God said, chuckling again, “Well you both had to cooperate. But the answer is yes.”

“What is this banishment stuff?”

“That was not banishment that was GRADUATION, INTO THE REAL WORLD. (Pause) The garden? That was simply Original Bliss.”

“Original Bliss never lasts, even though I can’t keep humans from hankering for it.”

“Original Bliss is the state of innocence. It never lasts. Beauty, from me, never lingers, but only VISITS. It is the Promise of Something Else, to be found only in Me alone.”

Eve said, “But It FELT so good back there?”

“It is the difference, God continued, between LUV and Love.”

There was a long pause and neither spoke. Eve was thinking about everything God had said.

Finally Eve, said, “WOW!” And for the first time, breathed a great sign of relief. “So we are more fully human now and still walk with you?”

And God said , “Yes. You cannot walk without me except in your heart.”

Eve said Thank you God.” God said, “You’re welcome.”

Then Eve added “By the way, will you tell Adam this, all this?”

“Well, he is a little slow and right now prefers the one up position.
But I promise to come to him in a dream. This is one of my preferred ways.”

Then God continued, “But the lesson here is the other part of the Story, that you, Eve, also came straight from my heart and you do not need to stand down to Adam. Simply love him, that’s all.

Eve said: “Thank you, Father God.”

God said, “You are welcome.” And smiled and God’s smile went from end of the universe to the other. God’s smile is still out there and in here for anyone who looks and loves.++

To be continued.
Copyright, Paschal Baute. 2007,
Note: This may be used by ministers of the Gospel with attribution. It may not be circulated for profit. November 15, 2007

Comment. The phrase “Original sin” is not in the Bible, although preachers, theologians and Bible lovers are fond of using it. It is my belief that it is a most harmful teaching, used for thousands of years to keep Christians ready to feel guilty, and from valuing the Inner Journey. If Jesus meant that the Kingdom of God is within us, he did not mean for us to find evil. The writing of Matthew Fox on Original Blessing applies here.

The teaching in Celtic spirituality is that birth itself is an original blessing, and that everything in nature, in creation, is a gift, an icon, a metaphor, and thin veil of the Divine.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Should we become our own Guru?

Gurus, spiritual teachers, therapists, life coaches: I used to follow them with devotion. I devoured their books, attended their seminars and sat at their feet. For years, I enjoyed the loving embrace of mother Amma, the sharp tongue of Eckhart Tolle, the inspiration of Krishnamurti. I listened to the lectures of Neale Donald Walsch, Deepak Chopra and Andrew Cohen.

I travelled year after year to India, without a doubt the country with the densest population of gurus. Every teacher I came across promised some type of enlightenment or freedom: one by sharing knowledge, another through meditation, yoga or mantra-chanting. Some held lengthy sermons; others kept their mouths tightly shut. Some were the embodiment of love; others were blunt and continued to batter followers until their egos were broken. Many of these gurus were extraordinarily wise and greatly enriched my life.

Yet I began increasingly to doubt whether the relationship between gurus, as well as other powerful figures, and their followers is the best way to achieve enlightenment or freedom. After all, in all the ashrams I visited, I rarely encountered an enlightened follower--someone who appeared to be just as wise, radiant and independent as the master himself. To be sure, most followers were devout and full of praise for their gurus, but they strongly doubted themselves. I noticed in myself as well that I sometimes seemed to shrink in the presence of an awe-inspiring guru. Was it a mark of honour and respect or in fact fear of standing on my own two feet?

More than 1,000 years ago, the Chinese Zen master Lin Chi underlined the danger of gurus.

He saw that many of his contemporaries in the 9th century transferred responsibility for their spiritual well-being to others.

He said this meant they gave away their power and authenticity. This inspired Lin Chi's oft-quoted statement: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."

In other words, if you think you can find enlightenment outside yourself, you're on the wrong track. After all, the essence of Buddha's teachings is that everyone carries the Buddha nature inside, or--put another way--we are all Buddha. Lin Chi's warning is still relevant today. Despite the far-reaching individualization in the modern Western world, people continue to seek handholds. Nowadays, there are more gurus than ever, despite the change in titles: mental coach, therapist, social worker.

The American social scientist John McKnight, who has been studying the effect of professional helpers on society for more than 40 years, is a modern Lin Chi. "Every time we call in an expert, we lose a piece of ourselves. As a result, the social workers have eroded the very soul of community," he writes in The Careless Society. "The enemy is not poverty, sickness and disease, but a set of interests that need dependency, masked by service."

Gurus and professional helpers aren't the only ones who tend to make people dependent and keep them down; parents and educators often do the same. How many parents and teachers see the "Buddha" in children? Instead of encouraging kids to trust their innate wisdom, they cram them full of facts and figures. Most kids are never asked about who they are, but what they want to be. The underlying message is, You're nothing now, but if you do what we say, you can become someone later. As a result, it's instilled in us at a young age that we must somehow get to the bottom of the wisdom of others instead of exploring the wisdom within ourselves.

The idea that you must become something in order to be successful, enlightened, delivered or happy is a huge misconception. The conviction that a path outside ourselves leads to something better is the reason why virtually no one ever arrives at their destination. After all, if you're perpetually on your way, you'll never get there. There's a sign hanging in my local pub that reads, "Free beer tomorrow." Of course tomorrow never comes.

Gurus, too, promise enlightenment later, thus condemning their followers to eternal dependence. It works both ways: After all, what would a guru be without followers?

Paschal : does this not also apply to all systems, churches, even Chrisianity itself. Are we Christians not supposed to ride coat-tails of Jesus to heaven.

Could it be that we are each a Divine Amazement and the challenge is to find within ourselvs the Christ - nature?

Naturally, some influential figures haven't become trapped in this mutual dependence. These are the radical masters who will not tolerate followers or hangers-on because they know spiritual freedom is only attainable for those who dare to stand naked before the truth--i.e., without pre-established loyalty to a doctrine or guru. Jesus would never have become a Christian, nor Buddha a Buddhist. These masters were rebels who primarily followed themselves (or God?). Psychiatrist Carl Jung was another example. He once said: "Thank God I'm not a Jungian."

Jung was referring to what he saw as the problem of unequal relationships in every form of therapy. Healing, he believed, can only take place if space is given to the whole person--and the therapist can disrupt that whole. The American psychologist Marshall Rosenberg, who conceived a model known as "non-violent communication," is extremely outspoken about the importance of complete equality. "When the therapist presents himself as a therapist, the therapy is doomed to fail."

An unequal relationship means there is a glass ceiling the follower can barely penetrate. To grow beyond the master is difficult, particularly when you are taught not to trust your own wisdom. Is that the reason why the Tibetan word for guru, lama, is translated as "unsurpassed"? A follower doesn't walk his own path, but that of another. Because that path is already worn, he doesn't have to work as hard to walk it, nor does he learn the same lessons. The conclusions the master reached--as an end result of the original spiritual work--are not the same for the follower. The master has experienced both path and destination; the follower only knows the destination as described by the master he has so diligently studied.

This is why followers are often holier than the pope and more extreme in their viewpoints than the master. And these viewpoints can often be reduced to easily digestible bits. After all, the more insecure people are, the more they cling to "the truth" and the more they try to convince others. Moreover, most followers miss the full concept of the master's teachings, so subtle and complex insights are reduced to easily understood and absorbed notions.

The paradox many people encounter in their search for enlightenment or deliverance is that this state of higher consciousness doesn't correspond to holding onto "truths" and "facts." Many truths and facts are only assumptions or ways of dealing with reality. It is no coincidence that the word "fact" is derived from the Latin word "facere", which means "to make." A fact is not truth, but a creation.

So we don't really lose our "Buddha nature" because of what we don't know, but because of what we are convinced we know because others have told us so--by clinging to borrowed, unshakable "truths." As soon as we establish something as fact or pass judgment on it ("This is the way it is"), we lose contact with reality, with the greater whole. We reduce the truth--inasmuch as it exists--to a word, a document or a method and close ourselves to learning and growing.

Maybe gurus aren't so much masters we can imitate but examples we can look to for inspiration. They show us that it is possible to achieve a higher state of consciousness. But it's up to us to get there.

So it's time to fire our gurus (facts, truths, religious persuasions, principles, dogmas) so the guru in ourselves can emerge. It's time to become as great as the gurus we followed--just as authentic, unique and obstinate. This is not an act of aggression or disrespect. On the contrary, it is an act of love and gratitude. The greatest compliment we can pay our gurus, coaches and therapists is to make clear that we no longer need them. The treatment was successful; the guru die

from Huffington Post, Nov. 5