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Compassion and Congress

Compassion and Congress

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As anger at the taxpayer-funded salvage of America’s largest banks and most inefficient industries exploded into rage over enormous reductions in care to the most vulnerable people in America – the young, poor, ill, and frail – the focus of rage and ridicule has become Congress.In a simpler time, addressing self-serving members of Congress might have been effective. But the times are now different. Many Americans assume that unrestrained corporate contributions lie beneath the dysfunction of Congress. In a simpler time, addressing these activities might have been effective. But the times are now different. A very few individuals and most large corporations now possess a hugely disproportionate amount of the wealth of America while millions of Americans plummet once unthinkably from middle class into poverty, but that is not what makes the times different.

The times are different because our way of evolving has changed. Relationships and institutions that are built on old values and perceptions have increasingly become dysfunctional, and this is now impossible to ignore. These growing dysfunctions are not limited to America. They are appearing world wide. The old perceptions include power as the ability to manipulate and control, and the old values are competition, discord, hoarding, and exploitation of one another, the Earth, and all else that can be exploited. All of this has now become obsolete and counterproductive to our evolution. New perceptions that are emerging in their place include power as the alignment of the personality with the soul, and our new values are becoming harmony, cooperation, sharing, and reverence for Life. Our evolution now requires these things. In other words, old ways no longer work, and that is why anger and rage at self-serving individuals and institutions is useless and destructive. It produces only more of the same – anger, rage, and self-service. It imposes one will upon another, and that now prevents our evolution.

Our new way of evolving has created a startling insight: If we have no compassion for those who have no compassion, we become like them. We contribute the same as they to the human experience. We fuel them. They become proxy actors for our own greed, righteousness, opportunism, and lack of compassion. Even more startling is a new perception of social activism is emerging the creation of compassion in myself. To consciously develop the abilities to think, speak, and act without making others villains for the unavoidable reason that when we see others as villains no matter how callous, self-serving, brutal, or destructive their actions are – we see ourselves as victims.

Developing compassion for Congress and politicians is a good way to begin practicing the new social activism, if you want to make effective changes in the world. Perhaps the most startling new insight of all is that there is no other way to effectively change the world.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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The Way You Sing It

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A friend took a trip to New Orleans after Katrina. He is a jazz musician and singer. He has been most of his life, and he feels that jazz is the greatest thing that has happened in America. Playing in a club with local musicians, he was invited to join the second line of a funeral the next day, a gig that paid him $150, some food, and another chance to play the jazz he loves.

The first line in a New Orleans funeral is the mourners. They grieve, cry, and remind everyone of what is happening. The second line is the musicians. They begin the procession with a dirge, stopping at clubs and bars along the way where they are fed and given drink. As the procession continues, the dirge slowly morphs into an unabashed celebration. “It’s the same song!” he exclaimed.

My friend knows grief and mourning. I met him at a memorial jam for his son, also a musician, who died young with cancer. Musicians who had played with him over the years, and also with his son, gathered with their horns, guitars, keyboards, and drums. “Jazz is pure America,” he said. “A community of equals that keeps creating something entirely new together.” They played through the evening. Then they showed us the second line, beginning with a mournful song that ever so slowly, and then with enthusiasm, transformed into an uplifting joy that swept us all into it. How could the same sad song become a song so joyful?

Some say that life is a sad song. Others say it is joyful. I say its not the song, it’s the way you sing it.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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SPECIAL OPERATIONS OF THE HEART

SPECIAL OPERATIONS OF THE HEART

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In the mid-eighties a young couple told a private conference of scientists, academics, sociologists, and writers that they would be working with the U.S. Army on a program involving exceptional human capabilities and were asking for advice from their colleagues. Their subjects would be two Special Forces A Detachments, or Green Berets. This couple was gentle, sensitive, perceptive, and counter-culture in energy and appearance. I was in the conference. As a former Green Beret officer in Vietnam, I was concerned about the experiences they might encounter. I was doubtful that they understood the disconnection from people, shared environment of brutality, and disregard for liberal perspectives and the people who held them they were about to encounter. I introduced myself and offered to share what I knew about the Special Forces and some thoughts that might be helpful.

Twenty-seven years later we reconnected, and they were eager to report their experiences. The project, they told me, had been a success. They also told me that my comments had been “sobering and illuminating.” Apparently, as I thought, they had no experience with the type of thoughts and lives that I described.

I knew the insecurity of the men they would be working with for six months, because I shared it, and even today I am challenging some of the energy in me that brought me into the Army (I volunteered) and then into the Green Berets (I volunteered). I told them that their only chance of surviving this assignment – emotionally – much less learning from it was to rigorously maintain their integrity. If they did not, I felt certain that these young men would “eat them for lunch” – disdain them, dismiss them, resist them, and ridicule them. Their only hope of success, I told them, was to know who they were, share directly and honestly, and detach from the outcome. Any attempt to manipulate these men by trying to please or impress them would lead only to disaster.

They were often amazed, positively, by the results that following my suggestions created. The project opened doors for them that are still opening. Beyond that, they were touched most by the men themselves. The courage and compassion that this couple brought to their interactions with these men created bonds that they still treasure. I told them to be honest and direct, even if they were frightened. Here are some stories they told me of doing that.

The wife recalled that early in the project while she was putting neuro-feedback brainwave sensors on a young captain from West Point, he asked if she had been “one of those anti-Vietnam war demonstrators.” She paused, remembered my advice, took a deep breath, and replied, “You bet.” He was silent a moment, then relaxed again and said, “I find that one of the most fascinating periods of history.” That was all. No disdain. No superiority. It was one of many times that she established a beautiful connection that could not have been created without her integrity and courage. Her husband told me another story. After a neurofeedback training session an enlisted man lingered in the lab, asking questions. At last, the husband needed to leave, but when he began to leave, the man finally asked him, “What do you think of us?” It was another moment of truth. The husband remembered our talk, as had his wife before answering the captain, and said, “To tell you the truth, I am surprised at how much I like you guys.” The young man replied, “I am surprised at how much I like you, too.”

Moments like these were the ones they remembered more than a quarter of a century after our talk at the conference. They told me of being deeply touched by tears of compassion flowing down the face of an Army Ranger, falling onto his “Death From Above” T-shirt, as his heart opened during a meditation. They told me of soul-to-soul connections created where personality-to-personality connections would have been difficult. These are the connections I am sharing with you. These are the Special Operations that are altering military history and that will eventually change the nations that create military organizations. I am grateful to be alive in this exciting time with you.

Love.
Linda & Gary

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CELEBRATING EACH OTHER

CELEBRATING EACH OTHER

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The Celebrating Gary’s 70th Birthday page that Linda created turned out to be more profound for me than I imagined it could. In the process of reading, hearing, and watching the many forms of appreciation that I received, I discovered that I appreciated the people who sent them and for the same reasons they were appreciating me! The more I read of their courage, open hearts, commitment, and compassion, the more I found myself celebrating them. The deepest appreciation we have for one another is not for what we do, but that we are here together, like it or not, continually offering one another opportunities to grow spiritually. Each time we experience an attraction or repulsion, we are offered an opportunity to grow spiritually. Each time we encounter someone we love or someone we despise, we are offered an opportunity. At first it seems that spiritual growth happens only when we open our hearts to people who open theirs to us. Then we discover that we grow spiritually when we open our hearts to people who do not open their hearts to us. This is where the real celebration begins – the celebration of everyone and everything because of the opportunities they give us without fail to grow spiritually.

Once we see this, we celebrate everything. Like students in a 3D, surround-sound, high-definition, full-color, cast-of-billions educational environment that provides them exactly what each needs to grow spiritually, moment by moment, we see how our attractions and repulsions, people we love and people we hate, and people who love us and people who hate us, all give us opportunities to respond with love or react with fear. Responding with love creates bliss. Reacting with fear creates pain. Recognizing the difference and acting on it – choosing love no matter what – is spiritual growth.

Thank you for celebrating me. It is a joy to celebrate you. What better gift could we receive and share?

Love.
Linda & Gary
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THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT COMPASSION

THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT COMPASSION

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An alcoholic demanded to return home from a treatment center. His wife felt that being home where she could take care of him was a good thing even though the staff at the center strongly advised otherwise. Once she had assisted with his return, she did her best, as she had over their years together, to love him with tenderness, encourage him to stop drinking, create distractions, and generally try to make him feel good about himself, or at least better. She appealed to his reason (this didn’t work when he was drunk), and addressed the needs of the most frightened parts of his personality when they were active. For example, he would say, “No one cares for me,” and she would say, “Of course people love you.” He would say “I am washed up,” and she would say, “You have so much to give.” He would say, “I can’t start again,” and she would say, “When the going gets tough the tough get going.”

He feared experiencing the emotional pain that years of drinking no longer masked (which is what the center would have required him to do). His wife feared his rage, mood swings, irrationality, and drinking. Three months after his return home, he drowned in his vomit in bed, too incoherent or weak to prevent his death. There was no compassion in this picture. Neighbors may have thought the wife was compassionate, but what would they think if they realized that her choices assisted his death? Her fears and his fears prevented them from listening to professionals who know about alcoholism

Compassion is loving others enough to say or do what is appropriate from an empowered heart without attachment to the outcome. His wife did not say, “You can’t come back – not to my home – until you start to change yourself.” Nor did she say, “You are a tornado in this house, destructive to me, our children, and everyone around you. Leave this morning and don’t return until you stop drinking.” She probably could not have forced him into treatment, but she might have been able legally to force him from the house he used for shelter while he drank with no responsibilities. Although these actions may seem hard or cruel, they would have been compassionate choices, and they would have required her to challenge every part of her personality that felt unjust, inhuman, or guilty. And her husband might still be alive. Might be. The choice to drink or not – to experience his pain and change or not – was always his. It was his last choice.

We each make choices moment to moment. Sometime we make them from fear, and sometimes we make them in love. Only choices made in love are compassionate. There are no exceptions. Do you have the courage to act with an empowered heart without attachment to the outcome? If not, you have no ability to give or experience compassion. That is the shocking truth.

Love.
Linda & Gary

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CONSCIOUS CHRISTMAS OR UNCONSCIOUS CHRISTMAS?

CONSCIOUS CHRISTMAS OR UNCONSCIOUS CHRISTMAS?

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What would a conscious Christmas look like? It would look like the Christ – loving others, caring about others without second agendas, no attempt to impress, patient, and caring. It would not be limited to a day, evening, or night. It would not be a special event. It would be a life-long endeavor, focusing the power of goodnesscompassion, and Divinity onto to every interaction and experience. It would be willful, not mindlessly habitual. It would demand commitment and an elevated perception. It would be the experiences of lovewisdom, and compassion brought into the matter of your life.

Who would benefit from a conscious Christmas? Everyone. It would cleanse the road film of sentimentality from our experiences, wipe clean the lens of our expanded perception, replace every distortion of anger, jealousy, resentment, superiority and inferiority with clarity, and free us from fear. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, recognizing the differences between a conscious Christmas and a commercial Christmas will help you recognize the differences between a conscious life and an unconscious life.

A CONSCIOUS CHRISTMAS IS: AN UNCONSCIOUS CHRISTMAS IS:
Quality time with family and friendsvs.       impatience, overwhelm and stress
Aware and healthy interactionsvs.habitual and unexamined interactions
Compassion for others and yourselfvs.judging others and yourself
Seeing from an impersonal perspectivevs.taking things personally
Cultivating love at every chancevs.indulging fear (impatience, anger, etc.) at every chance
Being kind (no second agendas)vs.giving so others will like you
True and deep connectionsvs.sentimental interactions
Acting and speaking with integrityvs.letting things slide because it’s the holidays
Caregivingvs.caretaking
Conscious use of moneyvs.shopping out of obligation or need to please
Healthy, conscious eatingvs.eating and drinking to cover pain
Open heartednessvs.evaluating, assessing, judging others

In short, a conscious Christmas is filled with experiences of love and an unconscious Christmas is filled with experiences of fear. Only an empowered heart creating without attachment to the outcome can live a conscious Christmas, and only a heart clouded by lack of self-worth and searching for value outside of itself can experience an unconscious Christmas.

This mirrors the creation of authentic power – the alignment of the personality with the soul – and the pursuit of external power – ability to manipulate and control. Every deed, word, and gift at Christmas can express the creation of authentic power or the pursuit of external power. The intention that you hold as you act and speak makes the difference.
May your Christmas this year – and all your times – be heart-filled, joyful, and fulfilling.
Love.
Linda & Gary
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Love in Roseburg

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Roseburg is close to Linda and me. We drive through it frequently to see our Granddaughter who is a student at Oregon State University, then we drive through it again on our way home. We stop for coffee each time. Our granddaughter is the same age as some of the students at Umpqua Community College.
With each school killing conversations swirl around mental illness, racial and religious bigotry, and especially gun control. At first glance, gun control seems to be an immediate answer. The young unstable person who killed his fellow students had seven guns, all purchased legally. It is easy to buy an assault rifle in the United States. Here in Oregon, it is legal to carry it downtown. Changing that will be a step in a healthy direction, but the cause of killing lies elsewhere.

According to a Sioux story, the Creator called all the animals together and asked them, “Where can I hide from the humans the secret that they create their reality until they are ready to know it?” “Give it to me,” said the salmon. “I will take it to the bottom of the sea. They will never find it there.” “No,” said the Creator, “One day the humans will go to the bottom of the sea, and they will find it.”

“Give it to me,” said the bear. “I will bury it in the mountain. They will never find it there.” “No,” said the Creator, “One day they will dig into the mountain, and they will find it.” “Give it to me,” said the Eagle. “I will take it to the moon. They will never find it there.” “No,” said the Creator, “One day they will even go to the moon, and they will find it.”

Then Grandmother Mole rose to speak. Everyone listened quietly, because they knew that she lives in the breast of Mother Earth and is very wise. “Put it inside them,” she said. “Ho!” said the Creator. “It is done.”

Now the secret is out. We are all discovering it. Each unchallenged moment of judgement, jealousy, anger, superiority, inferiority, and lack of compassion fuels killing, fuels brutality, fuels suffering. To change these things, we must change ourselves. We are each ultimately responsible for the world. That is the message of love that comes to us from Roseburg.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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THE NEW ARENA

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This is a moment in the history of America and the history of the world in which we are beginning to experience in intimately personal terms the extent to which fear controls our activities. We are realizing for the first time as a species that personal growth is not a shallow or inconsequential activity. It is necessary and powerful. We are also appreciating for the first time as a species that challenging fear in ourselves and cultivating love in ourselves is the only way that we can change the world

All of this is entirely new. We are in completely new evolutionary terrain. There are no maps. All that we learned before – that our perception is limited to five senses, that power is the ability to manipulate and control, that individuals who do not possess it are insignificant – is now counterproductive. None of the old ways works any longer. New ways are calling to us.
They require commitmentcouragecompassion, and conscious communication and actions

Each choice of love is conscious participation in the evolution of your soul, in the evolution of all the collectives in which you participate, in the evolution of the Earth school, and in the evolution of Life itself. Each of us is responsible for what we create. The world reflects what we create. It shows us what we need to change in ourselves to create a reflection of harmonycooperationsharing, and reverence for Life.

We can learn this lesson from our experiences of this election, if we are open to learning it. This lesson is now coming into focus for millions as we evolve in an entirely different way, with an entirely different consciousness, and with an entirely different understanding of power – the alignment of the personality with the soul.

We have entered a startling new arena of human experience – the domain of nonphysical reality, Teachers, wisdom, and compassion. And our responsibilities in it are becoming unmistakable.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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DON’T LOSE YOUR COMPASSION

DON’T LOSE YOUR COMPASSION

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When I first arrived on Okinawa more than fifty years ago almost everyone told me that I would not want to leave at the end of my tour of duty. They were right. Okinawa’s white sand beaches and turquoise waters were breathtakingly beautiful. Lush green covered the island, and I slowly discovered how much I liked it. I was mostly surrounded by Americans. I saw only Americans where I lived, ate, and shopped. Even the beaches were filled with Americans.

The largest Air Force base abutted the downtown area of the largest city. It was busy and noisy, as was the other Air Base. Okinawans disliked all the American installations on their island. They disliked the Japanese, also, for putting them there.
I was in our barracks when an order came for personnel to participate in “crowd control.” A large protest had begun outside the downtown Air Base. All my enlisted men were conscripted. They had no training for this – we were guerrilla warfare experts – but they did their best to follow their orders. I discovered later that most of them generally felt neither hostility nor sympathy for the demonstrators. They merely did the best they could without preparation, experience, or knowledge of the situation.
The North Dakota highway patrolmen, small town police officers, sheriffs, and their counterparts from neighboring rural states are in the same position. Most have little, if any, experience of this type. They are dressed for battle, and they are prepared to do battle on the frozen plains of North Dakota, but with whom? Shivering, defenseless, non-violent people?
This is inherently confusing. The nobility of their profession has been betrayed. Frightened parts of every personality refuse to accept possibilities such as this, much less allow emotional experiences of them. It took me decades to realize that the nobility I assumed my Green Beret would give me never existed, except in the distorted perceptions of the parts of my personality that originate in fear, not in love.

The courageous law enforcement officers who risked their jobs and reputations by refusing to return to Standing Rock are much more aware of themselves, their values, and the world than I was on Okinawa. How can we judge their colleagues who are less aware without expecting others to judge us when we also do the best we can? (Jesus asked us this question).

We can instead hold everyone at Standing Rock in our hearts and pray for their health and safety – police officers, pipeline workers, water protectors, veterans, reporters, and guests. We can be compassionate with all of them. Compassion is the medicine that we give to ourselves at the same time that we give it to others. When we become compassionate with others, we become compassionate with ourselves too. The Standing Rock gathering, like every experience in the Earth school, offers us opportunities to give and receive this medicine.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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HOW TO CREATE COMPASSIONATE HOLIDAYS

HOW TO CREATE COMPASSIONATE HOLIDAYS

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Compassionate Holidays require that you act consciously each moment. Unconscious caretaking and pleasing others (giving gifts because it is the “season”) are NOT compassionate deeds. They ignore the humanity of the recipient because the recipient is being exploited by frightened parts of your personality. This type of interaction multiplied billions of time each “Holiday Season” makes the experience much less than it could be.

Compassion is being moved to and by acts of the heart. I am not speaking of the sentimental “heart,” the “heart” that feels pity and need to fix other’s problems (these are experiences of frightened parts of the personality). I am speaking of the most healthy, inclusive, grounded, and loving part of yourself. If this heart is not involved, no compassion is present. Therefore a compassionate Holiday, like a compassionate family dinner or a compassionate country requires you to replace the experiences of frightened parts of your personality (which also include anger, impatience, frustration, and judging) with the experiences of loving parts (gratitude, appreciation, patience, caring). This creates authentic power.

People who do not know about authentic power want very much to experience compassion, especially during the Holiday Season, but they don’t know how so they try to will compassion into themselves. This makes compassion even more difficult to experience because the effort to experience it is really an effort to make themselves feel better, which is the opposite of compassion
Most people are not aware of this close relationship between creating authentic power and experiencing compassion, but it is obvious to those who know even a little once they begin to think about it. You cannot be compassionate and angry at the same time, or compassionate and jealous at the same time, or intend to exploit someone and be compassionate with that person at the same time.

There is no such thing as compassionate Holidays. There are only compassionate individuals, and in each instance, compassion is a matter of choice – the choice to create authentic power, to challenge frightened parts of your personality and cultivate loving parts. A compassionate Holiday is impossible without a compassionate day before the holiday, day after the holiday, and compassionate days before and after those.

Happy Holi (Holy) Days,

Linda & Gary