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Policing and the Sanctity of Life

Police need to be highly trained and thoroughly multi-racial. They need, indeed, to be the ones who take the lead as we rebuild our social system based on the sanctity of life. (Photo: flickr.com/fibonacciblue)

This is so much bigger than personal accountability.

Yes, the four police officers present at the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis were fired the next day. The case is being investigated by the FBI. And the mayor of Minneapolis and lots of other politicians are talking about “values.”

But later that night, police fired teargas and rubber bullets into a crowd of protesters, showing us that the national divide remains deep and wide and nothing has changed. The nation is split—racially, economically, politically—into us vs. them, and only one side (which is armed to the hilt) gets to be boss.

As long as this paradigm remains intact, occasionally chastising, or even prosecuting, a police officer for committing murder, or some other blatant act of racist overstepping, accomplishes virtually nothing. The instilling of “values” in the armed enforcers of a racist social order will result in, at most, superficial change. And the world will not be any safer.

George Floyd died on May 25 because he was deprived of his right to breathe. He—or someone—was accused of using a counterfeit bill to buy groceries. Four officers responded to the call of a “forgery in progress” and, on arriving at the scene, ordered a suspect to get out of his car. He “resisted arrest” and may have been “under the influence,” a police spokesman said later, all of which resulted in one of the officers, after a scuffle, keeping Floyd flat on the ground and immobile by kneeling on his neck. This lasted for seven or eight minutes; Floyd cried out in pain, cried that he couldn’t breathe, then eventually passed out. The officer continued kneeling on the neck until an ambulance arrived. Floyd was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Shortly afterward, the Minneapolis Police Department issued a statement that George Floyd had died of a “medical incident.” How forgettably abstract! And that would have been that—incident forgotten, let’s move on—except for the horrific ten-minute video that went public, showing a murder in progress as passers-by cried out to the officers to let the man breathe. The public outrage over the video led to official “action”—the four officers were fired—but . . . now what?

As we know, Floyd’s death is only the latest hell inflicted on a community of color somewhere in this country, either by police officers or armed white vigilantes, in recent weeks and months. But of course this goes back decades, centuries—to the arrival of Europeans on the North American continent and their determination to claim the land as theirs and start importing slaves to make it productive.

This is not history. This is the present moment: Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling with his full weight on George Floyd’s neck, until the man dies. All that has changed in the last three hundred years — the progress we’ve made—is that today a race-based murder can get you fired.

I’m sure we’re at a point where the majority of Americans recognize the terror and insanity of this, e.g.:

“Being black in America should not be a death sentence.” These are the words of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, putting the matter about as clearly as possible. “What we saw is horrible, completely and utterly messed up.”

And the police chief, Medaria ArradondoMedaria Arradondo, put it this way in a public statement: “When Mayor Frey appointed me as chief of the Minneapolis police department, I was very steadfast and strong on what our department vision, values and culture change would be moving forward. One of those pillars is sanctity of life.”

So, as I say, now what? I assume these words are spoken sincerely, and I also understand that no one individual, no matter his or her level of power, can declare lasting and far-reaching social change on a moment’s notice. All they, and we, can do is put something into motion: the creation of social order truly and honestly (unlike, say, the Declaration of Independence) based on the sanctity of life.

What could this mean?

This is social change at a level that is almost unimaginable, and certainly not limited to America’s police departments. It requires an ongoing national conversation: a unity of purpose — a sense of patriotism—that is the equivalent of, and also the opposite of, waging a world war. It’s nothing short of participatory evolution.

But let me scale the matter back to the level of policing, and make note that effective, compassionate policing exists right now and simply needs to expand beyond the reach of militarism and racism, which invade policework like a virus.

Here’s something that happened to me many, many years ago. One Saturday afternoon a neighbor called and said some guy was out in the alley, opening my car door. I went out to check and saw a huge, drunk guy who turned when I spoke and heaved a beer bottle at me, then stumbled toward me through my yard mumbling obscenities. My daughter, then about 5 years old, had come out to see what I was doing. I scooted her back into the house and we shut, and locked, the door. The big guy pounded on the side of our house for five minutes, then collapsed backwards into a bed of poppies. My wife called the police.

Two petite female officers arrived. They opened a popper under his nose, restored him to consciousness and escorted him through the yard to the squad car. The drunk easily had 100 pounds on each of the women. He was an incoherent, BB-eyed hulk, but they approached him with a complete absence of aversion or moral judgment.

As I later wrote: “They addressed a certain basic dignity of his personhood, even though he wasn’t showing it himself. They went straight to it, like experts in applied psychology, emotional jujitsu: ‘Sit up, sir. That’s right.’ Looking on, I could see the words hit their mark; he straightened up and began pulling himself together. It was a deft, fearless display of peacekeeping.”

No one was “them” in this incident. The lost soul who was causing the havoc was restored to his humanity in the process of preventing harm from occurring. Social order requires complex understanding of the human condition, far, far more than it requires a tough-guy swagger, handcuffs and a gun. Police need to be highly trained and thoroughly multi-racial. They need, indeed, to be the ones who take the lead as we rebuild our social system based on the sanctity of life.

About the Author:
Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is now available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.


Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.




The Messiah is Here, Part 3: Recognizing and Dissolving Causes

By Karma Singh | * Harmony Energy Consultants

In order to truly remove a problem, you need to know what the real cause is. Karma Singh illustrates this point with a great story.

The link to the video mentioned is:

Editor’s Note: The above video is the 3rd video  in the series about sovereign living by Karma Singh, and delves a little deeper into why some people in power may have become evil, and choose to do evil, and the importance of doing what we can to stop it. He mentioned the first 2 videos in this series. You may recall that part 1 explained how to use the power of your heart, and the part 2 explained how you can stop what “they” are doing to you. Here is the link for the earlier parts: The Messiah is Here – Parts 1 and 2. 

* Originally entitled:The Messiah Awakening Part 3 – Recognising and dissolving Causes”

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail




The Messiah Is Here- Parts 1 and 2

By Karma Singh | Harmony Energy Consultants

Editor’s Note: When pondering this pandemic, many questions come to mind. Many of these questions, for me at least, begin with the word “why”? The last question I tend to ask is “What can we do? The following videos have some answers, and I have felt very empowered by them. Most of us have no way to have a conversation with those in high places, such as those who are deciding our fates day by day. The second video provides a way for us to communicate with these people in a quantum way. I have tried it, and I feel less helpless after doing so. I urge you to try it.

In part 1 (below) of a series about sovereign living, Karma Singh explains how to use the power of your heart:

In part 2 (below) of a series about sovereign living, Karma Singh explains how you can stop what “they” are trying to do to you:

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.




Killing Ourselves To Flatten The Curve — Part 1

By Brendan D. Murphy | Waking Times

Picture This…

An elderly woman sits on a park bench in England with no one nearby. Police draw near — apparently protected from COVID-19 by their law enforcement costumes — to intervene and issue her a hefty fine…

Paris bans outdoor exercise during the day with disobedient joggers facing the threat of 6 months in jail.

Medical “authorities” at the W.H.O threaten “to enter homes and remove family members” in order to impose isolation on them.

Flashing signs at beaches in Australia warn visitors to monitor their “sand time” (without specifying how being on the sand might suddenly become “dangerous” — and after how long).

Innocent travelers are randomly pulled over and questioned — Nazi/Soviet-style — as to the purpose of the most mundane and innocuous voyages. “Papers please.”

Police in England threatened to literally examine the contents of people’s shopping trolleys to make sure people only buy “essentials.”

Crosses mark where we can stand “safely” in line for an ATM — fortunately the virus seems not to be able to move sideways between people standing in lines, but only forwards and backwards.

wish I was making even just a FRACTION of this up, but these are all REAL examples.

Regardless of your viewpoint on the coronavirus itself, it seems high time that we all assess the merits of the countermeasures being employed by governments around the world to fight COVID-19.

I want you to seriously entertain an uncomfortable question — consider it a thought experiment.

The question is this:

By trying to “flatten the curve” using current methods are we actually going to ruin lives and kill people at a higher rate than this apparent flu-like condition — that appears less and less threatening by the day — ever could?

Consider “social distancing” and self-quarantine, a couple of supremely Orwellian terms. We are told this is to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of the dread disease (an idea which increasing numbers of medical professionals and scientists are challenging).

We are, paradoxically, “united” in our isolation.

What are the impacts of this isolation? Might there be unintended consequences for mass enforcement of these measures? Let’s take a look.

Self-Quarantine, Loneliness, and Impacts on Immunity

Everyone knows the elderly represent a more susceptible demographic. Government rhetoric tells us that the radical social measures will “protect the vulnerable” such as the elderly — but how true is this?

In a study by Krumholtz on elderly people who were hospitalized for congestive heart failure, it was found that those who had no one to rely on for emotional support were three times more likely to have another episode requiring a return to hospital than the patients who had warm relationships.

This speaks to the powerful psychosomatic component of health — part of the puzzle conspicuously absent from mainstream discourse, which — you may have noticed — focuses the COVID-19 narrative entirely on the idea of vengeful microbes floating around waiting for an unsuspecting human host.

There’s more.

In 2003, Dr. Sheldon Cohen, a psychologist at Carnegie Mellon published the results of his intentional attempts at trying to give common colds to people, in a study featuring over 300 volunteers.[ii]

He wanted to test whether sociability predicted resistance to infectious conditions.

Under tightly controlled conditions he systematically exposed volunteers to a rhinovirus believed to cause the common cold. Despite his best efforts, fully two-thirds of the exposed volunteers were utterly unaffected.

What Cohen and his colleagues found was that “sociability was associated with greater resistance to developing colds.”

All things being equal, simple exposure was clearly not the be all and end all. Cohen et al. also had something to say about cortisol: “Sociability was associated with lower concentrations of…cortisol and the SNS hormone epinephrine.”

It is generally recognized nowadays that chronically elevated levels of cortisol have an immune-damping effect.

Consider the impact, then, of the systematic shutdown of virtually the entire global economy and resulting plague of joblessness, poverty, and pressure to provide for family and dependents — a sure fire recipe for chronically elevated cortisol levels from these raw survival anxieties.

And then add on top of that the bonus of social deprivation (let’s call it what it is) — which ALSO has an immune-damping effect.

So, on the one hand, our loving governments have unleashed a pandemic of stress and anguish due to the wholesale destruction of the global economy and resulting Depression (yes, it’s well under way) — and on the other hand we have the Orwellian ban on free socialization, depriving countless people of the most valuable thing in a time of crisis: an empathetic human touch.

We are not robots.

Studies done on babies have shown that those reared without physical contact suffer in a multitude of ways, including the stunting of natural physical growth.

Monetary tensions in a household are part of the texture of urban life and the stuff of legend. It’s axiomatic that finances are a common source of conflict in the home. Consider the amplification of general household stress a Depression-level event like this global shutdown brings.

Like a lottery win — or a PCR test — the coronavirus lockdown situation is an amplifier of what is already present.

How does this bode for the health and immunity of people in tough — or even abusive — relationships?

What Cohen found in his work was that participants who had an ongoing personal conflict were 2.5 times as likely as the other volunteers to develop a cold, which put rough relationships in the same causal category as vitamin C deficiency and sleep deprivation!

But the hits keep coming.

In earlier phases of these studies, Cohen found that, of 276 volunteers exposed to rhinovirus:

The people with the weakest social support levels were 4.2 times more susceptible than those with robust sociability. Although smoking, poor sleep quality, low vitamin C, elevated catecholamine levels, and even introversion were all associated with greater susceptibility to colds, they were not as important as the social support and connection felt by participants.[iv]

This means loneliness was even riskier than smoking in terms of developing a cold/upper respiratory illness.

Cohen and his team concluded, “More diverse social networks were associated with greater resistance to upper respiratory illness.”

Consider this information in light of the “COVID situation” where we are being trained to view each other with fear and suspicion — and “self-quarantine” at home. What effect does that have on people living alone? Or a single parent with an energetic child? An elderly widow/er?

Where has any of this information factored into our loving governments’ actions?

In short, Cohen’s studies showed that the more we socialize the less susceptible our immune systems become. Vibrant social connections are mood-boosting, which creates a neutrotransmitter cascade and epigenetic response that augments our immunity.

The “paradox” (and it’s only a paradox if you’re a militant subscriber to Germ Theory and ignore the mind-body connection and Terrain Theory) is that relationships protect us from the “risk” of exposure to the very infectious conditions many of us assume they pose.

A good hug releases oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. It stimulates the vagus nerve and helps you relax, according to psychologist Tiffany Field. It can decrease your heart rate and trigger a drop in the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine.

Where is this mentioned in the COVID-19 narrative?

The medical system — and the opinion-forming mainstream media — fixates us on the notion that we “meat sacks” are just hapless docking sites for random invading microbes — flesh machines just waiting to break down…

But in truth, we are crawling with trillions of microbes and constantly exposed to all sorts of them in the course of a day — yet we remain okay. It is now estimated there are some 380 trillion viruses in our bodies — aka the virome! And don’t forget the 60 trillion bacteria in us.

Even Louis Pasteur, the godfather of Germ Theory (and a plagiarist), admitted that, “The microbe is nothing. The terrain is everything.” Indeed, these are said to be among his last words before he died.

Not satisfied, in 2015 Cohen replicated his earlier findings on the protective effects of socialization on the immune system.

In a study involving 404 healthy adults, Cohen and his team studied the effects of perceived social support and the receipt of hugs on the participants’ susceptibility to developing the common cold after being “exposed to the virus.” (To my knowledge, true isolation and purification were not necessarily achieved — and rarely, if ever, are, in truth — but that’s another article for another day.)

The findings?

People who perceived greater social support were less likely to develop a cold, and the researchers calculated that the stress-buffering effects of hugging explained nearly a third (32 percent) of that beneficial effect. For those participants who did develop a cold, those who felt greater social support and received more frequent hugs had less severe symptoms.[v]

“Hugging protects people who are under stress from the increased risk for colds [that’s] usually associated with stress,” said Cohen, adding that hugging “is a marker of intimacy and helps generate the feeling that others are there to help in the face of adversity.”[vi]

In simple terms, basic physical expressions of affection and friendship (aka love) helps to keep colds and flu away.

John Cacioppo, professor at the University of Chicago and director of the University of Chicago Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience has done his own research into loneliness: The more intense and long-lasting it is, the more it undermines your health.

Loneliness worsens depression, causes fragmented sleep and is tied to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, studies show. Loneliness has several physiological effects, Cacioppo says, like making blood vessels more resistant to blood flow. The resulting rise in blood pressure shows up in older adults a few years later…Choice is the difference between being alone and being lonely, Cacioppo says — loneliness happens when people are forced to be alone.[vii]

A final note on hugs:

A 2008 study found that doses of oxytocin supported several immune functions and reduced the negative effects of bacterial endotoxin in a group of men.

Oxytocin treatment resulted in a transient or prolonged reduction of endotoxin-induced increases in plasma ACTH, cortisol, procalcitonin, and a number of other immune measures. “In summary, oxytocin decreases the neuroendocrine and cytokine activation caused by bacterial endotoxin…”[viii]

In other words, oxytocin (and the hugs that release it) are immune-boosting and protective.

Why does no one discuss the many immune-enhancing BENEFITS of social contact? We only ever hear about the supposed negatives as we are corralled into our homes-cum-prisons.

Once the fear sets in, it’s hard to think straight. Ask yourself if the media’s reporting on “COVID-19” might not be a tad biased and perhaps even deliberately sensationalist and fear-inducing…

Cognitively speaking, once we are triggered into fear we are effectively less intelligent and mentally flexible.

Why would our governments and mass media report news and events in a way that puts people into a state of fearful, un-thinking paralysis?

Who benefits? We continue our investigation in Part 2 — stay tuned.

About the Author

Brendan D. Murphy – Co-founder of Global Freedom Movement and host of GFM RadioBrendan DMurphyis a leading Australian author, researcher, activist, and musician. His acclaimed non-fiction epic The Grand Illusion: A Synthesis of Science & Spirituality – Book 1 is out now! Come and get your mind blown at www.brendandmurphy.net

References:

[i] Goleman, Social Intelligence, 224.

[ii] S. Cohen, et al., SOCIABILITY AND SUSCEPTIBILITY TO THE COMMON COLD, American Psychological Society, VOL. 14, NO. 5, SEPTEMBER 2003

[iii] Goleman, Social Intelligence, 229.

[iv] S. Cohen et al., Social Ties and Susceptibility to the Common Cold, JAMA, June25, 1997-Vol 277, №24

[v] Stacey Colino, The Health Benefits of Hugging, https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2016-02-03/the-health-benefits-of-hugging

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Lisa Esposito, How Seniors Plow Through Lonely Winters, https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2016-01-29/how-seniors-plow-through-lonely-winters

[viii] Oxytocin alleviates the neuroendocrine and cytokine response to bacterial endotoxin in healthy men

[viii] Martin Clodi, Greisa Vila, René Geyeregger, Michaela Riedl, Thomas M. Stulnig, Joachim Struck, Thomas A. Luger, and Anton Luger, https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpendo.90263.2008[thrive_2step id=’24156′]




The Give and Take of Personal Freedom

The definition of true freedom (With images) | Freedom, Iyanla ...If you’ve been reading my articles for a while, then you may have also caught on by now that I feel most alive when questioning the status quo, and am not afraid to “go there” and write about topics many would consider sensitive or expletive. You would not be wrong to assume that I’ve always had issues with authority (not so much getting in trouble, but rather asking so many questions and oftentimes asking questions of adults they simply could not explain), although throughout my life I’ve managed to find the delicate balance between speaking the Truth at any cost, and showing compassion in my delivery. 

One of my favorite quotes is “I would rather be slapped hard with the Truth than caressed gently with a lie.” I’ve tweaked it a bit to my own taste, but the message remains. That message is that oftentimes the person being the best friend to you is the one telling you things you may not want to hear per se, but speaking them mindfully with the intention to truly help you.

I was the one where if you constantly asked if something made you look fat, even if it didn’t I would say yes. Not to be cruel, but rather not to continue to feed the jaded opinion of Self and need for outside validation. Just to get the person face to face with their self-created facade of Self and realize that no matter what they look like, weigh, etc. that they are still worthy of love and acceptance. And in the end, I was always the friend at the ready to offer both whenever and however I could.

My good intentions were not always received as intended and often I realize I can come off as insensitive. And oddly enough, it’s because I innately see people’s greatest potential (call it a gift or a curse, I am still trying to figure that out LOL), and when I could see people literally in their own way of happiness, freedom, confidence, etc. it would propel me to share what I could see and feel about the path they needed to take to get there. It’s no surprise I’ve ended up becoming a Reiki Master Teacher and a Holistic Life Coach as I thrive in environments where I can get people off their proverbial asses (or their real ones) and back to living full lives!

I am a firm believer that we are all mirrors to one another and have even written about that ingrained phenomenon that connects us all in a separate article. So it goes without saying that if we are aware of and insightful to the bigger picture of our everyday interactions, whether with family, friends or strangers, we will see ourselves in almost everyone we encounter. And this insight has proven to be an excellent tool for personal growth and healing trauma. Many people avoid growth and healing at the first sign of uncertainty. But as the saying by Deepak Chopra goes, “Every great change is proceeded by chaos”.

This fact we mirror energy back and forth to one another may trigger some to disagree right away claiming no resemblance to someone who could potentially be rude, cruel or even dangerous to others. However, what I’ve come to learn in over 20 years of studying energy and human consciousness is that we cannot react to something we do not acknowledge resides within ourselves. And yes, this goes for both positive or negative traits.

Perhaps one of the oddest insights I’ve had is the realization that we cannot feel jealousy towards someone unless we see the POTENTIAL within ourselves. So, while feeling “green” or envious to another may make us momentarily angry or feeling like we aren’t as good, it can completely change our opinions if we look at it from a different perspective. All envy truly is, is the acknowledge of inner potential that has simply not yet manifested. Bryant McGill Quote: “True freedom is where an individual's ...

So, another way to explain jealousy would be that the person is merely reminding you of your OWN potential. And when we feel like we’re living our best lives or doing all we can to succeed, if we mingle with this emotion, it will soon tell tales that poke and prod you back into action and out of procrastination.

How many times have we seen it in movies? The younger, more fit college guy moves next door and all of a sudden dad wants to work out and get ripped. Somehow, the mere sight of the younger version of Self has prodded a reminder of how good it felt to be in shape and perhaps admired once in a while for having toned abs. It’s not really anything that guy did or even IS, but rather the reflection we allowed ourselves to see.

While anger can be an incredible motivator, I’ve come to realize that if you approach something new with clarity, calmness, and conscious response, then you also open the flood gates to learning life lessons that will not only propel you into action physically but often times emotionally, mentally or spiritually as well.

And this leads us to the idea of what freedom truly is. Regardless of your environment, your culture, your religious (or not) upbringing, we all get a say (and honestly, the final word on) how free we are and will ever be. What I see in the world today is a case of mental slavery where we’ve become content to be told what to do, well into adulthood and rarely stop to question the rules, those who make the rules and why or when we ever agreed to them?

What I’ve realized in my time here on Earth is that if we harbor ill will towards ANYONE or ANYTHING outside of ourselves, we only subject it to having a huge influence over the quality and direction of our lives. It is only when we realize that WE make the rules, and somehow, like a bad dream we awoke to find ourselves lost, and in a state of spiritual amnesia, where we have forgotten our power and who we truly are.

When we surrender choices of our lives in any way shape or form to another, whether 1 or 100 other people, we are literally agreeing to be put under a spell. And until we revoke that spell and reclaim responsibility for our lives, our health, and our happiness we will always look outward with the expectation that is where satisfaction comes from. And if what is “out there” is doing things differently than I am, then I will reject it because it reminds me of the freedom I’ve since handed over to an invisible force.

This is why, especially in a time like this where the world feels upside-down, twisted and bass-ackwards, it is vital to the survival of compassion and true humanity to remember that if we expect the freedom to be who we are from others, then we must also relinquish the need to control what they think, feel and do.

In the end, we cannot take any of this material world with us when we go. Be sure not to take regret and resentment in its place. And when life looks like there’s no chance to hang on, that’s when you know it’s safe to let go…of your expectations, and need to spread what you feel onto others, no matter how much you believe you are coming from a good place. I refuse to be caged in my home at this time, and that has pissed off a lot of people on social media, but if someone didn’t invite you into their personal home life asking for opinions, then just like the message we’ve all been bombarded with goes, “stay the f*&^ck home”. 🙂

Do what is best for YOU. And respect others enough to allow them to do what is best for THEM. True freedom is all about “give and take”…

Love you all. <3

 

tamaraTamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

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Finding Peace in the Time of COVID-19 (part 1 of 3)

Death, Fear and the Virus

Unless you have been off-world or in a persistent vegetative state for the past two months, you will be very familiar with the fact that the end is nigh. Well, if you can believe the media, at least. You know what I am talking about: the arrival of the COVID-19 virus.

A lot of people are scared. Very scared. And that is perfectly understandable. Mostly. The fear in many cases is because of the unknown. What will happen? Will 70 percent of the world’s population be infected, with death tolls in the millions, bringing visions of the plague back to haunt us from our ancestral past? Will I even survive it? What about my elderly parents? My sick relatives?

I am not going to attempt to answer those questions here. That is not the purpose of this writing. Instead I am going to describe a meditative process I call Emotional Alignment. There are three levels to the process, and I am going to share them with you over three posts on the topic. Today I will introduce the idea of Emotional Alignment, and describe the first level, which you will be able to begin today if you choose. The other 2 levels will be outlined in the two posts to follow soon. I will also outline some of the potential limitations of Emotional Alignment in these posts, and discuss some common errors people make using this and similar processes.

The Setting

I live in Zhuhai, southern China, close to Macau and Hong Kong. Over here we are in a different phase of the epidemic than most other countries, given that the virus was first made public in Wuhan, not too far from, here in late December. We’ve had well over two months to adjust our perspective, and embrace the new normal.

The Zhuhai coastal strip, with Macau in the distant background, top-left

Here in Zhuhai, it is not quite lockdown, despite restrictions on the movements of the general public. After all, I am writing this on my laptop in a lovely, small restaurant in the Tangjia district in the northern part of Zhuhai. Zhuhai is quite a lovely city. In terms of its environment and physical landscape, it’s certainly a very pretty place. It lies right on the coast, and has won numerous awards for its environmental policies and standards. So, it is not a bad place to wait out the zombie Apocalypse.

I suppose I am going to have to be honest, and tell you the truth that Zhuhai and most of the regions around here have not been hard hit by the Attack of the Mini-Monsters. The official figures here last time I checked were that 98 people have been confirmed to have contracted the virus, 95 have fully recovered, two are still under observation, while just one person has succumbed. In nearby Macau there have been just over a dozen cases, no deaths; less than 200 in Hong Kong (four deaths); while Taiwan has had 100 cases and no fatalities yet. Beyond the strict regulation of people’s movements, the low impact around here may be related to climate. These are humid, hot places, and there is some suggestion that these locales may be less favorable to the spread of the virus (though that is unproven at this point).

The Horror, the Horror

But I am not here to promote the Zhuhai region to brave travelers. Indeed, there are harsh restrictions here now. You would struggle to get in, and even if you did, you’d have to undergo at least two weeks of quarantine at you own expense.

Instead, my purpose here is but one. How shall we deal with fear in a time of great uncertainty? I have spent nearly 25 years working closely with my own emotional body, and have also worked intimately with others as they have sought to manage their own troubled feelings and psychological and spiritual issues.

What lies in the following article represents my own understanding. The Emotional Alignment process I detail here is suitable for those who have at least a reasonable grasp on their current mental state. It is not meant to be a substitute for genuine psychological intervention. If you find that you are really struggling with your mental and emotional states at present, or feel unable to cope, I strongly suggest you seek advice from a registered mental health professional. Most of all, reach out to loved ones. Nobody should go through difficult times alone. There is no shame in seeking help.

The Essence: Love your Fear

When I first began to meditate many years ago the very first “message” I ever received was “Love your fear.” The voice came into my head as I sat quietly in the darkness. That surprised me. I certainly didn’t expect to hear a voice while I meditated. But I realised immediately that the message was a wise one. It made intuitive sense. Don’t run away from your fear! I recalled years before reading the classic children’s book The Boy Who Was Afraid. Confront your fear. Don’t run away.

So, I began the process of finding practical ways to embody that understanding. It took me a long time, and I have modified the process over the years, but what you will find below is the most simple and practical explanation of what I have come to understand. Make no mistake. This self-work was not done alone. I got lots of help. The intense inner child work I did with a group of hardy journeyers in New Zealand twenty years ago was invaluable. The teachings of Leonard Jacobson have also been seminal. In fact, his private “alignment” session with me some 27 years ago was not that dissimilar to the process you will read of here.

I am very grateful for such help. 

The Role of Fear

Fear has a role in evolution, and that is to alert us to danger and prepare us to fight or flee. The surge in adrenaline is useful if you have to run like hell, or fight off an intruder from another tribe. But with the long burn of stress in modern societies, our biology can be counterproductive, or even harmful, as is well known. In times of prolonged crisis such as we have with the virus at present, chronic fear and anxiety can really spiral out of control. You will be well aware of this, if you have spent any time online lately.

Emotional Alignment is one way to help bring that anxiety under control.

And yet if we take the other extreme, if we reject fear or ignore it we may fail to heed its warning. Further, denial of one’s physiological state can lead to dissociation, and in turn mental and physical health issues. Many mental health advisors see that denial as a prime driver of addiction. So, what we want and need is a way to manage fear, to turn it into an ally, not to be totally rid of it. After all, there are smart actions we all need to take in the time of COVID-19: washing hands regularly, avoiding large gatherings, minimizing social outings and so on. We also need to be accountable to those around us. Our own reckless behavior could endanger not only ourselves, but loved ones and colleagues. Simply eliminating fear and going about business as usual would be foolish.

The Process: Aligning With the Feelings

Though this article is primarily about how to manage fear, feelings rarely arise in complete isolation from other feelings, and there are many feelings that may arise within us that we typically find difficult to accept or manage. Besides fear, anger and blame, grief, sadness, and shame are perhaps the most common. Confusion, a sense of worthlessness, envy and jealousy are others, and may contain a mixture of various feelings.

Fear is perhaps the most primal of all. It seems to be more pervasive than any other of the “negative” feelings. Indeed, for many of us it often sits just at the surface of consciousness. In recent years, there has been a great rise in the incidence of anxiety and panic attacks in many western countries (although this may in part reflect the fact that people are far more likely to report such feelings).

Before You Begin

The process I am suggesting here (and especially in the second and third levels) will not be for everyone. It does require a genuine intention to do inner work, as well as a fairly high level of self-awareness. Most of you should be able to manage the first level, although some kind of mindfulness practice will help. For the final two levels, it would be beneficial to have done some shadow work or emotional breath work.

Of course, you can modify the process according to your particular needs and introspective abilities. Still, if you find Emotional Alignment is not for you, seek some other kind of emotional management process.

Ideally, to adopt the process I am recommending you need a quiet, private space. Unless we are talking about very wise and accepting people, it is difficult to do the kind of vulnerability work I am suggesting in front of others. Of course, if you are in some kind of emotional group therapy session, Emotional Alignment could be done there, but during the current virus situation I am going to assume you will mostly be restricted to self-work.

The First Step

The most important step of this process I detail here is the first. That is, you should simply and gently acknowledge that you are experiencing fear and related feelings, and are struggling at some level to deal with that. If such feelings are affecting your life, work or relationships, begin by simply acknowledging that. Relax with it. There is no shame in being afraid, being unsure. It is part of the deal in residing in the human physiological system, and in case you haven’t noticed, many people are finding things difficult at the moment. You are not Jesus. You are not the Buddha. You are not even your favourite spiritual teacher or mentor. You are not here to be anyone else other than you. Your job is to accept responsibility for the task of loving and accepting yourself, as best you can.

 

A Quiet Place

I prefer to engage in Emotional Alignment when there is nobody else in the house, but I realise this is not always possible for everyone. The emotional expression which might emerge could disturb others, and if they have never done this kind of process before, or are not familiar with similar modalities, they may not understand. Still, if appropriate, explain to your partner, family members of housemates what you are doing.

Another option is to do your Emotional Alignment work in the privacy of your car, when parked somewhere private and away from observers. When my brother Jerome took his own life many years ago, I really needed to release a mountain of anger and grief. At the time I was staying temporarily with my mother and a few other family members, after my father’s funeral. I knew there was no way I could do my alignment in the house. They probably would have called the boys in white clothes to come and take me away. So, I borrowed my mother’s car, drove out to a remote location and let it all out (this is the third level of Emotional Alignment). It was one hell of an emotional outpouring, given I’d lost my brother and father in the space of a week. The next day I repeated the process, because there was just so much within me needing expression. On the third day I felt no such requirement, and stayed with my mother and family the whole day.

The process of Emotional Alignment does not need to be as dramatic or intense as the previous level three example. Such heartrending events typically occur but a few times over a lifetime. Emotional Alignment is, for the most part, simple and gentle. Yet this does not mean that it is necessarily easy. Still, I do want you to keep in mind that this is not meant to be complicated. In its essence, Emotional Alignment is as simple as allowing your feelings to have a voice, being present with them, and developing a gentle and accepting relationship with those emotions.

Surrender

Emotional Alignment begins and ends with surrender. Surrendering allows us to relax, and to develop an accepting relationship with ourselves, with others and the world.

It is one thing to experience difficult emotions. But the emotions themselves are probably not the actual problem. After all, small children often experience a roller-coaster of strong emotions throughout the day, and seem perfectly OK with it. That is because, at least when they are very young, and if they have nurturing parents, they don’t beat themselves up about it. They do not dissociate from their feelings.

Yet if we reject ourselves because we experience difficult emotions, it is difficult to find the love that healing requires. So, begin by forgiving yourself. Nobody can stop you from accepting yourself. Of course, it is ideal if those around you accept you, but that is not necessary nor sufficient.

If your emotional difficulties are negatively affecting others, that adds a little pressure to the situation. For if you are lashing out, have a high need for drama, and are dragging others into conflict, then the situation becomes more complicated. But the first step is not that much different. Acknowledge where you are at and admit to yourself your part in what is happening. Make a commitment to rise above that by taking responsibility for what you are experiencing. That is a necessary step towards freedom.

The Emotional Alignment Process

Begin by sitting quietly in a chair, on a bed or even on the floor (preferably with a mat, don’t make yourself uncomfortable). As I suggested above, you can also do this in any private place. I have done Emotional Alignments in cars, in bushland, while wading in the ocean and even by arriving at work early when others are absent.

I am going to suggest three levels of Emotional Alignment: the first one in this article, and Levels 2 and 3 will be outlined in the two articles to follow. Choose the level most suitable for you and your needs.

Level 1

If you are not very familiar with the practice of emotional body work, then Level 1 is the best place to start. Think of it as being a bit like going to the gym. You don’t begin with an advanced program. That would be overkill. But be mindful that unlike going to the gym, this is not a forceful activity. It is a letting go process, like relaxed stretching with deep breathing.

There is a witnessing process involved here, where you become the observer of your own mind (ego, if you prefer) and its emotions, beliefs and stories. Yet that mind needs time to begin to trust “you” (as observer) again. You have probably been pushing at least some feelings away for a long time, so a gentle easing into the reconnection is advisable.

This is where inner child work is very useful. In that process you separate yourself from the hurt, becoming a parent to your inner child. This allows you to re-parent your “wounded child.” Emotional Alignment is in many ways the same thing, just using a different framework.

Begin

As you sit, bring attention to your breath, and relax deeply. Notice any tension in your body, and just bring awareness to that. Breath into that tension and relax further.

Notice your feelings. If you feel fear, anger or some other sensations, where do they reside in your body? In your abdomen? Your shoulders? Your forehead? Bring attention to that, still breathing deeply and relaxing that part of your body.

Your task is to bring attention to the tension, to the feelings, and to be present with them. You are not trying to judge the feelings as good or bad, nor attempting to get rid of them. The relaxation and non-judgment will tend to diminish the fear indirectly.

Sit and do this for as long as you feel you need to. But do so for at least five minutes. The goal is to be able to achieve a sense of calm embodiment.

As you feel yourself relax, as you become more calm, return your focus to your breath. This will help you to finish the session with a strong sense of embodied presence.

I suggest you practice Level 1 Emotional Alignment regularly, at least once a day if possible. During stressful or uncertain times, you might feel the need to do several shorter sessions.

What I have described above is the basis of the first level of Emotional Alignment. This may be enough for you. Many will find it to be helpful in reducing anxiety and regaining some sense of calmness and emotional control.

Yet there will likely be times when such a process brings forth an awareness of deeper emotions and troubling thoughts. Simply being present with the feelings will be helpful, but may not alleviate the underlying issues.

In part two of this three-part series of articles on using Emotional Alignment during the COVID-19 situation, I will describe how to take the process to the next level, and begin working directly with the emotions themselves, and the fears and beliefs that may lie beneath them. There are also some potential problems to look out for as you engage in these kinds of practices, and I will share my understanding of those in the next two articles.

Part 2 will be posted here within a few days. Please feel free to comment or share this article with friends.

Regards,

Marcus




Love and Nonviolence in the Time of Coronavirus

“Whatever the outcome,” writes Butigan, “the experience of this current pandemic is likely a rehearsal for the summoning of global resolve to, once and for all, tackle the series of grave ‘epidemics’ that are mutating and growing all around us.”

By Ken Butigan | Common Dreams

The COVID-19 pandemic has ground the world to a halt.  While Hubei province in China has begun to recover, it has done so by locking down sixty-million people and severely disrupting the patterns of life and work there.  The rest of the world is generally behind the curve in its response, with the number of cases skyrocketing and a few countries courageously taking the same drastic measures that the Chinese did toward containment and mitigation.  The United States has declared a national emergency, but the pivotal strategy of testing is severely lagging. Quite likely, the next weeks will see a dramatic increase in cases and deaths.

How, then, does this crisis sharpen our choice for a culture of active and life-giving nonviolence?  Doesn’t it, instead, point to a future of epidemics, social disruption, economic chaos, and an increase in the politics of fear?

There is no question that the current catastrophe could worsen an already grim trajectory of climate change, poverty, racial injustice, and militarism. It could feed the flames of authoritarianism and regimes of surveillance, even as it could drive long-term economic dislocation, with harsh impacts on the lives of people everywhere.

At the same time, however, this crisis is so global, so encompassing, so pervasively universal—touching virtually every person on the planet—that is not only begging for an immediate and comprehensive response, it cracks open the possibility for a long-term cultural and planetary shift toward a more just, peaceful and sustainable order.

“Let us use these coming days and weeks to take steps toward liberation from the domination system and toward a culture of peace and nonviolence.”

It is the magnitude of this cataclysmic predicament that directly confronts us, willingly or not, with the choice Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. specified for humanity half a century ago—nonviolence or nonexistence—and prompts us urgently to discover a way forward drawing on nonviolent methods toward a more nonviolent world.

While combating this pandemic with xenophobia and “us versus them” nationalism has been the reaction of some, the reality is that, if we are to survive this crisis effectively, it will require comprehensively nonviolent cooperation and approaches.  We are already seeing these in action.  When the people of Wuhan and Italy—and now Spain—join in the radical social-distancing of staying home for weeks, they are not only protecting themselves, they are engaging in a powerful, nonviolent action of social responsibility and solidarity. When societies take rapid, extraordinary steps to mitigate the shock of job loss or the expense of testing, they are pursuing nonviolent strategies—nonviolent because they resist the violence of exclusion or indifference while fostering healing and unity.  Even as we find ourselves in the midst of this disorienting and surreal disaster, we are often responding instinctively with empathy and compassion.  No doubt, this nonviolent energy, extended to the entire world, will be increasingly needed as the scale of this catastrophe becomes clearer over the next weeks and months.

Nonviolence is organized, love.  A constructive force, an active method, and a powerful way of life, active nonviolence is the power of creative love unleashed to relieve suffering, to struggle for justice, and to nurture a world where everyone counts.  Now more than ever this energy is urgently required to respond to the world of hurt that the COVID-19 tsunami is leaving in its wake—the growing number of people struck down with the virus; the keen grief of those who have suddenly lost loved ones; the overwhelmed health-care systems and providers; but also those caught in its financial wreckage, including minimum wage workers who suddenly have no income; small business owners with laser-thin margins forced to shut down; and, most palpable of all, millions at the margins who have no safety net, no resources, no health care, no recourse.

The present world of pain not only presents an emergency requiring an immediate response, but it also throws in sharp relief the need for dramatic social change.  We have not built a world that is up to effectively dealing with this challenge. This moment of what we might call “pan-suffering”—agony reaching deeply into the lives and societies across the globe—is revealing the need for societies and systems capable of handling such transnational emergencies while providing for those most impacted by them.

From “War Footing” to “Nonviolent Mobilization”

While the metaphor of “going to war against the virus” crops up in many media reports—“Every college and university is on a war footing about this and are trying to assemble as much information as possible” (LA Times); “New York adopts war footing to ready hospitals for virus surge” (Bloomberg News); “Trump’s national emergency declaration, corporate partnership put the U.S. on war footing vs. coronavirus” (Boston Herald)—the strategies in place, and the ones that will succeed, are anything but those of war-fighting.  When the media reach for a term like “war footing,” they are falling lazily into a traditional groove for describing a concerted, society-wide strategy for mobilizing people and resources to solve a monumental problem confronting the nation or the world.

“The present world of pain not only presents an emergency requiring an immediate response, but it also throws in sharp relief the need for dramatic social change.”

If, in fact, defeating COVID-19 will most effectively happen through nonviolent strategies, it is best to reach for a metaphor that both imply this and minimizes the possibility of violent counter-measures (as in the “war in Iraq” or even policies that have taken on this signifier, like “the war on drugs” or “the war on poverty”).  Rather than the metaphor of war, it is better to take on a metaphor from the world of nonviolence, for example, “nonviolent mobilization”: inviting people across our societies to tap their power for love, mercy, peace and nonviolent change in a comprehensive and collaborative way.  Truly ending this epidemic will require a common vision of, and policies supporting and fostering, unity, cooperation, and healing.

The more we take steps now in the spirit of nonviolent transformation, healing and connectedness, the more we will glean lessons for going forward as a society and a planet.

These lessons—for example, that health-care for all lessens the spread of epidemics; that an economic safety-net for all buffers the shocks of such catastrophes; that our limited resources should be poured into meeting the human needs of all instead of military systems that buttress “us versus them” geopolitics—will point us toward and serve as a foundation of a nonviolent shift that our nation and our world desperately needs.

Pace e Bene

While many of us may have long been thinking along these lines, it is in these moments of shock and peril that we can find the gumption to take the concrete steps for making this shift a reality.

In addition to teaching at DePaul University, I work with Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, a thirty-year-old organization spreading the power of nonviolence. Pace e Bene (“Peace and Good,” a greeting used by St. Francis of Assisi) has long been working for what Joanna Macy calls “the great turning.”  Since 2014, we have been collaborating with a growing community of sisters and brothers in the US and around the world to take steps toward building and nurturing a culture of active nonviolence free from war, poverty, racism and environmental destruction.  Each year since then Campaign Nonviolence has been growing—by organizing Nonviolent Cities, by facilitating trainings and workshops, by publishing books on nonviolence, by encouraging the Catholic Church to spread nonviolence (in our work with Pax Christi International’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative), and by mobilizing nonviolent actions for a week each September, anchored by the International Day of Peace. (This year, the Campaign Action Week will take place September 19-27.)

In all of this, we have been preparing for a turning point.  Maybe it is here.

This all depends on our choice.

On the Threshold?

We can’t predict what the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be.  Perhaps, after it passes, we will resume the life we have always known.  There is some evidence that this is what’s happening in China, where the lessening of the coronavirus spread has seen a return to pre-COVID-19 fossil fuel consumption levels.

At the same time, there is the potential for a long-term shift.  In spite of rampant nationalistic tendencies, this disease underscores the inextricable interconnectedness of planet earth. We are all literally in this together, and that togetherness does not stop at national borders.  The healing of the earth’s population in the face of this global infection ultimately will hinge on the care for all, not for some. Just as humanity began to reset its self-understanding after Apollo 8’s “earthrise” photo was beamed home in 1968—a startling image that helped us “get” that we are one borderless planet, suspended in the darkness, together—so COVID-19 shocks us into an even deeper awareness: whatever threatens one threatens all.  Our survival depends on one another.  Or, to put it positively, we are being beckoned to, once and for all, outgrow our limiting conceptions of self and nation.  Our full flourishing hinges on transcending the confining cultural and social operating systems that exclude, demonize, and reject.

“Whatever the outcome, the experience of this current pandemic is likely a rehearsal for the summoning of global resolve to, once and for all, tackle the series of grave ‘epidemics’ that are mutating and growing all around us.”

COVID-19 has deepened our understanding of the Apollo 8 image: we see a planet wounded and needy, one community of communities in need of healing, compassion, and transformation, a sacred reality calling us to the nonviolent turn. Violence will not heal this brokenness and pain. Only nonviolence—purified of violence at its very roots, as Sr, Nancy Shreck, OSF has put it—can relieve this suffering in its comprehensiveness.

Whatever the outcome, the experience of this current pandemic is likely a rehearsal for the summoning of global resolve to, once and for all, tackle the series of grave “epidemics” that are mutating and growing all around us: the epidemic of economic inequality; the epidemic of racism, sexism and homophobia; the epidemic of nationalism and xenophobia; the epidemic of militarist systems and solutions; and the existential epidemic of planetary collapse.  Our current struggle offers us the gift of both seeing the “big picture” in a new way and the invitation to shift our way of life and being in foundational ways in light of that “big picture.”

It is a vivid and compelling invitation to see anew the indivisible reality of life and, consequently, to join and contribute to the global movement for this cultural and planetary shift.

Steps Forward

The immediate question is: How can we make this choice for a nonviolent shift in the midst of the current chaos?

First, within our own lives.  As one nation after another goes into lockdown in order to interrupt the transmission of COVID-19, more and more of us will be staying put at home.  This is an opportunity to prepare ourselves for taking part in this shift. How? Instead of regarding it as a kind of involuntary imprisonment, perhaps we can envision it as a space for transformation.  In the fourth century, the first monks headed to the deserts of Egypt and Palestine too, as Thomas Merton imagined it, jump ship from the Roman Empire, which had begun to co-opt the Church.  Their life of contemplation and self-confinement was a process of being freed from the empire, physically but also spiritually.  They sparked a revolution of consciousness that has rippled down to our own day.

Similarly, let us use these coming days and weeks to take steps toward liberation from the domination system and toward a culture of peace and nonviolence.  With intentionality, reflection, prayer and community offline and online, we can take steps to challenge scripts of fear and division and to experience healing and transformation in our lives, our relationships and in the global movement for a world where everyone counts.

“Let us commit ourselves to the dramatic, systemic transformation needed now more than ever. “In this time of anxiety, let us renew our relationship with our loved ones, even if we are in close quarters.

In this time of dislocation, let us nurture the bonds of connection and solidarity.

In this time of disruption, let us find ways to commit our lives to the healing and well-being of all.

In this time of instability, let us imagine what nonviolent practice we can take up and deepen.

A New Movement is Coming

The greatest social movement in human history is coming.  Each of us is called to join it.  It is a global movement, a movement of movements.  It is learning from the history of movements that has been accelerating over the past century.  It is rooted in the blood and tears of millions who have spent their lives throughout history clamoring for justice, working for peace, laboring for a world that works for everyone.

This movement will not appear by magic.  It requires hard work and “acting our way into thinking.”  It will be deeply nonviolent—saying No to injustice and Yes to the humanity of all, including the humanity of our opponents.

In a curious way, COVID-19 is a strange messenger.  It is calling us resolutely to join this planetary movement that is emerging.

Let us join this all-embracing movement.  We can fill our knapsack for the journey ahead by taking nonviolent pieces of training online, planning for action in September, imagining how your locality could become a nonviolent city—and entering the mystery of nonviolent healing and transformation.  We can ready for humanity’s next step by finding—online, or off—a small group of 4 or 5 people to reflect, study and plan together, supporting one another as catalysts for transformation, as agents of nonviolent change, as advocates for a renewed and revitalized world.

Let us commit ourselves to the dramatic, systemic transformation needed now more than ever.  The vision, principles, and strategies of nonviolent movement-building will strengthen our ability and capacity as agents of nonviolent change for a renewed and revitalized world.

We do not know, yet, how the change which is needed will come about. In these days of darkness and decision, let us open ourselves to the new direction to which we are being called.

Let us choose the way of nonviolent love in this time of coronavirus.

Ken Butigan is director of Pace e Bene, a nonprofit organization fostering nonviolent change through education, community, and action. He also teaches peace studies at DePaul University and Loyola University in Chicago.




So, You Thought Slavery No Longer Existed? Think Again

Slavery

By Carey Wedler | The Anti Media

(ANTIMEDIA) Nearly 46 million human beings are subject to slavery, a new report released this week concluded. According to the third annual Global Slavery Index, which gathers and analyzes surveys conducted by Gallup, the number of people forced into “modern slavery,” or “human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation,” rose from 35.8 million to 45.8 million since 2014 — a 28 percent increase.

The Global Slavery Index is a project of Walk Free, an Australian human rights organization dedicated to ending modern slavery, which researchers caution does not mean traditional slavery, in which “people were held in bondage as legal property.

This year, the researchers for the index analyzed survey responses from 42,000 respondents in 53 languages and 167 countries, though they noted gathering such information is “a difficult undertaking due to the hidden nature of this crime and low levels of victim identification.”

Even so, Andrew Forrest, the founder of Walk Free, suspected the 28 percent increase from 2014 to 2016 was “due to better data collection, although he feared the situation was getting worse with global displacement and migration increasing vulnerability to all forms of slavery,” Reuters reported.

The new analysis highlights the persistence of slavery in modern society, cataloging the worst-offending nations and noting that instances of modern slavery occurred in all 167 countries included in the study.

According to the report, 58 percent of individuals forced into modern slavery were located in five countries: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan. Those nations had the highest “absolute” number of slaves — India was found to have over 18 million slaves, and China, which took second place, had over 3 million.

The report also listed nations with the highest proportions of slaves relative to their total populations: North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, India, and Qatar.

With over 1.1 million slaves in a nation of just over 25 million, North Korea had the highest proportion of victims, with 4.373 percent of the population subject to servitude. That amounts to roughly 1 in 20 North Korean citizens forced into slavery. As the report explains, in North Korea, “there is pervasive evidence that government-sanctioned forced labor occurs in an extensive system of prison labor camps while North Korean women are subjected to forced marriage and commercial sexual exploitation in China and other neighboring states.”

The 2016 index further noted other instances of state-sponsored slavery, naming Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Belarus, China, Eritrea, Russia, Swaziland, and Vietnam — as well as North Korea — as the worst offenders.

It also criticized North Korea, Iran, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Hong Kong, Central African Republic, Papua New Guinea, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan for their lack of effort in combating slavery.

Interestingly, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and Libya, all nations subject to U.S. military intervention, tied for sixth place in the list of oppressive countries by proportion to population — totaling several million designated modern slaves among them. But the researchers did not include these nations’ governments when they analyzed efforts to curb slavery, perhaps unintentionally highlighting yet another oppressive force in the contemporary human experience:

“Due to the ongoing conflict and extreme disruption to government function,” they note, “we have not included ratings for Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria or Yemen.”

Critics of the report challenged the statistical methods, arguing the analysts used “flawed methodology by extrapolating on-the-ground surveys in some countries to estimate numbers for other nations.” However, as Reuters reported, “Forrest said a lack of hard data on slavery in the past had held back efforts to tackle this hidden crime and it was important to draw a ‘sand in the line’ measurement to drive action.” He challenged critics to produce an alternative.

“Without measurement, you don’t have effective management and there’s no way to lead the world away from slavery,” he said.

Discussing options for eradicating modern slavery, Forrest, an Australian mining billionaire, and philanthropist singled out businesses that fail to scrutinize slavery in the production of their products. “Businesses that don’t actively look for forced labor within their supply chains are standing on a burning platform. Business leaders who refuse to look into the realities of their own supply chains are misguided and irresponsible,” he said. As Reuters noted, the “2016 index again found Asia, which provides low-skilled labor in global supply chains producing clothing, food, and technology, accounted for two-thirds of the people in slavery.”

Calling on leaders in government and civil society (as well as business), to work harder in eradicating modern slavery, Forrest ultimately waxed optimistic.

“Through our responsible use of power, the strength of conviction, determination and collective will, we all can lead the world to end slavery,” he said.


This article (So, You Thought Slavery Was Dead? Think Again) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article atedits@theantimedia.org.

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Spirit Led Activism – The True Power Of The People

By Julian Rose, Contributor | Waking Times

As the world is driven into a state of chaos by a combination of top-down despotism and bottom up politically correct pacifism, seekers of ‘the path’ sit in the lotus position contemplating their navels or drifting into the ether of another world.

Seeking to participate in inner spiritual disciplines can quite easily be used as an excuse for doing nothing. Nothing about anything that actually matters. Nothing that would constitute making a stand against the destruction going on all around us. I say “can be quite easily used” because many aspirants who fill spiritual seminars, workshops, conferences and retreats all over the planet, have adopted the popular view that they shouldn’t be involved in confronting anything – except possibly, themselves.

They claim they make is that trying to prevent something bad from happening goes against ‘inner spiritual work.’ It is ‘confrontational’ and therefore encourages a negative vibration when what is called for is “peace, love, and tolerance”.

This is an evasion of the simple human responsibility (response-ability) to act when faced by stark cases of injustice and cruelty. It is not a spiritual reaction at all; it is rather the opposite, a simple act of cowardice which hides behind metaphysical teachings that say one must go ‘inward’ only, rather than outward, if one wants to do any good in the world. Such a convenient mantra for those who wish to avoid feeling or taking any responsibility for the shocking levels of cruelty and destruction which they themselves freely admit to witnessing, and indirectly supporting, on a daily level.

“No,” such people say, “we will make a better world only by meditating and changing the vibrational level from carbon to crystalline. It is not for us to do battle with the forces of evil that control this world. If they succeed in their ambitions – and trash our planet in the process – it is because evil is still more prevalent than good, so we must keep meditating in order to become more spiritual and avoid being caught up in any form of conflict!”

Now the irony of this situation is really quite profound. Because what these spirit seekers are saying and doing – assuming that at least some are really ‘doing’ their spirit work and are not on a purely escapist trip – is not out-and-out wrong. But, without an equal and complementary commitment to cease supporting that which they know to be insupportable – plus a commitment to give active service to humanity and pressing planetary needs, it is essentially meaningless and should be recognized as a form of deception.

Only half of something whole – taken as if it was whole – is a dangerous delusion. A half-truth, when taken to be the whole truth, is indeed a grand deception and one particularly popular with the political class. Spiritual self-improvement must always be coupled to tangible actions in support of humanity, otherwise, it becomes regressive.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who join protest movements and direct action groups, who won’t hear of anything to do with ‘the spiritual’ getting in their way. People who are often brave and indeed courageous souls, and whose struggle to protect the Creator’s kingdom against wanton acts of destruction is considerably closer to the true essence of spirituality than is the cosseted world in which many of the so-called spiritual aspirants reside.

Bravery is an important quality, but many of those heading out to block attempts to drive a new motorway through a pristine forest would be a hundred times more effective if they added the power of a conscious spiritual intent to their struggle.

Why, oh why, do people have to identify with one or other of these approaches? Why cannot we all settle for declaring ourselves ‘spiritual activists’ and get on with the job? This is the quality that really has the power to make/bring change for the better. Nothing can stand in the way of fully committed passionate souls, who combine their inner and outer powers to protect and promote all that has value and beauty on planet earth.

While it may sound heroic, this is in fact the natural state of expression for a human being who has not succumbed to society’s ubiquitous mind control techniques and/or fallen prey to pretentious propaganda. An unsullied human instinct will react to acts of obvious injustice by expressing a strong sense of righteous indignation which leads on to the desire to take action! This is because we are all linked-up, and on the collective subconscious plain, are one. When one sees one’s fellow kind being kicked in the head by some crazed vagrant, one’s first (and best) instinct is to try to help the person in trouble.

Now extend that emotion into the animal, plant and all living matter kingdom, and one will find that it is one’s heart that is leading the way. It is one’s heart that is leading the rebellion against rank injustice – and no one will argue against the fact that the heart lies at the center of our innate spirituality.

‘To follow one’s heart’ is the first stepping stone on the road of truth. Actions that flow from here represent a genuine spiritual response. One based on compassion and empathy for and with the divine diversity of creation. Taking action to defend that creation is spiritual activism. Here is the response of someone whose inner and outer self is not alienated or in conflict with each other.

It is the dynamic of balance. A state in which the collective spirit of love that we share with fellow beings, is activated and acted upon. Yes, activated and acted upon. Both.

The spiritual activist is our natural state of pre-mind-controlled being. The being who has not been pacified by indoctrination to the ways of the status quo. Who has not sought to identify with the spirit alone – or with the warrior alone – but quite naturally finds that he/she is, by sheer dint of being human, is both these. How our world would rejoice should this breed of actor emerge at the forefront of the affairs of man!

We have had enough of compartmentalized divisions of oneness. Quite enough, thank you. ‘Nowhere’ is precisely where we will get so long as people continue to split themselves up into divisions of the whole and then believe they have found ‘the way’.

So, do meditation and spirit work by all means, but then immediately pour the fruits of it into taking action against injustice – and beyond that – towards the process of building a new model of humanity.

Real Action is not about congratulating oneself self for sending a pre-prepared text message to Greenpeace to stop oil drilling in the Arctic. Real Action is where one puts one’s self on the line – body, mind, and spirit – to fight for a decent future for humanity in all the myriad ways in which this is so absolutely vital today.

Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Never were truer words spoken.

At a time of mass deceit and corruption at the highest levels of society, worldwide, everyone who has a heart needs to have their hands clasp onto the rope of resistance. Everyone who has a soul, and some basic level of awareness, needs to go forth into the world and start setting in motion a great turning in the affairs of man. A turning that will reflect the potential, beauty, and power of the human actor in full creative flow. Spirit and action in movement – conjoined as one.

So from here on in, say Godspeed to the emergence of the spiritual activist – and say goodbye to the world of halfway houses that twist the truth into selfish self-concern for a cosseted life of make-believe sainthood.

And while you’re at it, also say goodbye to all other such deviations from the truth that sap the lifeblood out of existence.

About the Author

Julian Rose is an early pioneer of UK organic farming, a writer, actor, and international activist.

Julian Rose is an international activist who, in 1987 and 1998, led a campaign that saved unpasteurized milk from being banned in the UK; and a ‘Say No to GMO’ campaign in Poland which led to a national ban of GM seeds and plants in that country in 2006. Julian is currently campaigning to ‘Stop 5G’ WiFi. He is the author of two acclaimed titles: Changing Course for Life and In Defence of Life and is a long time exponent of yoga/meditation. See Julian’s web site for more information and to purchase his books www.julianrose.info




Chaos Theory Shows World Peace is Attainable

According to Wikipedia, Chaos Theory is defined as “the field of study in mathematics that studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions – a response popularly referred to as the butterfly effect.” In other words, Chaos Theory refers to how meaningful and profound even the most seemingly insignificant things are and teaches us that nothing is trivial.

It may not look like it, especially in the wake of the recent events in the world including Syria, Paris and Beirut, but the world is an amazing and beautiful place. The only thing going on here is as a species we are not aligned with peace; which believe it or not is our natural state of being as it is for all living things in nature, including Mother Earth herself.

So, what does Chaos Theory have to do with world peace? Well, for starters it is now elementary science that everything is energy and that like energy attracts like energy. There is also an enormous amount of research and evidence available showing the benefits of meditation to bring relaxation to ourselves in times of stress and anxiety. And lastly, with the wave of higher consciousness, we are ALL being called to look within ourselves and heal our innermost shadows. And as the numbers rise in those of us doing this soul work, so also rises the level of peace in our collective consciousness overall.

Chaos Theory or “the butterfly effect” is also what is making it appear as if there is NO hope for humanity at this time. Everywhere we look we see famine, war, suffering and meaningless cruelty. But if we pan wide…if we just zoom out from our limited perspectives and try to catch a glimpse from a global or even universal view if we so dare, we just might see that great healing is occurring on this planet. Just as in our own lives when all seems to be going to shit and we are so close to giving up does the greatest growth happen. It is only when we dig deep and get down to the roots can we ever really see what is holding us back from progression, and the Earth being alive (a sentient being just as you and I), she also heals in much the same way.

It could be said that nations and cultures are the planets various personas and as she works out the unhealed parts of herself as we each do every day of our lives, we bear witness to her growth in the form of the sometimes barbaric, collective acts of humans in the form of greed, war, genocide, etc. We are more deeply a part of the Earth than we ever learn in school, and yet our ancestors knew this and lived it. They cherish her, respected her and lived in harmony with her. But as humans do, we develop shadows with free will; we begin to believe the illusion of separation and thus begin the fall of man. There have been many cycles of this throughout our history.

Steve Mariboli once said, “The universe is so well balanced that the mere fact that you have a problem also serves as a sign that there is a solution.” This quote is a great reflection upon Chaos Theory which would support the notion that no matter how chaotic thing appear to get, that is simply a reflection of how stable they can be as well…as all things must return to balance; to zero-point. Nature knows nothing else, just harmony and is always falling back to center. It is only when it runs into some sort of interference does discord occur. It could be said that many of man’s poor choices have definitely contributed to much of the “discord” we see in nature all around the world today.

So, how do we achieve the unachievable? How does humanity finally stop bickering and killing one another mindlessly over religion, oil, money, politics and power? The answer always has been and remains a simple one. KNOW PEACE AND THE WORLD WILL KNOW PEACE.

The only way the world will ever know peace is when every person takes ownership over their shadows and does the work to heal and integrate them. The path that leads a person to be at peace within them is ultimately the path that will also bring peace to the entire world…because it has to start with one…with each of us. It can’t be each of us looking around, waiting for someone else to make a move. There is nothing “out there”….and if you continue to believe there is, you will always see a world up in arms in chaos. But if you close your eyes for a moment…breathe, and step out onto the invisible bridge of everything inside you that you fear, hate, ignore, etc….then your life and our world will never again be the same. It will be…peaceful.

ONE LOVE TO YOU ALL. <3

TamaraRant_150x200Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

Follow Tamara on FacebookTwitter and Google+




What You Can Do to Help in Chaos

Misery and Mercy by Cherie Roe Dirksen

Dining on a Rancid Take-Out Menu

As society and the media pumps out more pandemonium, bedlam, jiggery-pokery and mayhem for our global dining-room table consumption, one wonders just how much more one can take?

The ways we cope and react are numerous. One can spontaneously break out into interpretive dance (as mentioned in my recent ‘heart talk’ article, which you may find interesting — READ HERE), churn out a few Shakespearian sonnets, join one’s local Hare Krishna movement or go and make like an ostrich (only to name a few saucy coping-mechanisms!).

Dust Off Your Head — You’re Needed!

It’s no small wonder that my close group of friends (and officially me too after last night) are all having the same dreams — unfortunately, that of the ‘end of days’ scenario with those four epic horsemen!

I mean WTF(udge)? The battle for middle earth has begun (Tolkien was way ahead of his time)!

Can you feel it? Yeah, I know a lot of you will say that people have been predicting the apocalypse since the dawn of mankind and naught has happened yet but, seriously, there is something up of late. And I know it’s not just me who’s feeling it.

Has the battle betwixt good and evil reached a climactic pinnacle? If so, whose side will fall?

Okay, this is where you come in…

What Can I Do?

In the throes of mass panic, fear, galvanization and all the rest of it, you can be that still presence.

There are 2 things you can adopt when you feel you’re in the middle of something chaotic:

  1. Be Aware — drop into your heart space (read more about ‘Heart Wisdom’ HERE). Instead of spontaneously bursting out into reaction, take a knee (even if it has to be a quick one!). Centre yourself and see things for what they are. If you can react from your heart instead of sweeping fear or anger, you are opening a space for resolve or balance even if you can’t see it yet.
  2. Be Calm — energy compounds energy. If you react with more chaotic, aggressive, panic-stricken energy you are not helping, you are adding fuel to the fire. If you can act with calm, balanced, centered energy you may just be able to dissolve some of the chaos and be the watering can to those licking flames.

Now, if you’re able to use the above-mentioned traits, you will be in a space where you can be of more help than if you were to become erruptively reactive. When you are reactive without these 2 attributes you will more likely cause more chaos than help to bring about any kind of reconciliation or balance.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing erroneous about taking action in a situation — just be equipped with a calm awareness firmly tucked under your coping-strategy belt.

Your ability to remain calm and aware will be key to bringing about a new consciousness movement.

Related article: The Defector Recipe: JFK, Muse and YOU!


You can now hear Cherie Roe Dirksen on Big Indie Giant radio as she reads out select articles on air.

She also gives weekly news headline updates taken directly from the Conscious Life News site, so be sure to tune in.

 

 

 

Cherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author/columnist/radio presenter, multi-media artist and musician from South Africa.

To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com. Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE.

Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality. You can follow Cherie on Facebook (The Art of Empowerment — for article updates). She has an official art Facebook page (Cherie Roe Dirksen – for new art updates). You can also check out her Facebook band page at Templeton Universe.

This article (What You Can Do to Help in Chaoswas originally written for and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author Cherie Roe Dirksen and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

 

Self-Empowerment Books by Cherie Roe Dirksen:

              




Opposing Iran War Doesn’t Make You Conservative or Liberal, It Makes You Smart

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought ProjectWaking Times

Despite the establishment telling Americans otherwise, the United States is marching directly into a major conflict with Iran that could have catastrophic implications. The two-party paradigm’s grip on Trump supporters has them shifting from previously supporting Trump’s anti-intervention stance on which he campaigned, into full-on support for a senseless and dangerous war. This is the exact same scenario that unfolded with Obama when he turned the antiwar Left into pro-war interventionists. If you stand against this escalation, according to the establishment, you are anti-America. But in reality, you’re just smart.

To those foolish enough to be supporting such idiotic war games, consider the fact that Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria or Libya. Iran’s military is ranked as the 14th most powerful armed forces in the world by Global Firepower’s 2019 Military Strength Ranking. A war with them would not resemble that of a war with Iraq. Instead, Americans would see large scale cyber-attacks on our infrastructure, clandestine operations carried out inside the United States and potential nuclear fallout. Hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties are likely.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who deployed on two combat tours to Iraq, painted the picture perfectly in a tweet pointing out that a war with Iran would make the Iraq war look like a picnic.

“As someone who understands the situation in Iraq and Syria, I can tell you that if we do not get our troops out of Iraq and Syria now, we will be dragged deeper and deeper into a quagmire and war that will make the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan look like a picnic,” she wrote. We agree.

This entire debacle started over “top secret” claims that the US was under an impending threat from Qassim Suleimani and his forces. Americans were never once shown any evidence of this. We are merely supposed to believe them and then go off and die in a war for them. What’s more, this “most dangerous man in the world” was praised by America just four years ago as his Quds Forces not only helped push back ISIS in Iraq but lead the action to do it.

https://twitter.com/Ian56789/status/1214723405817294848?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1214723405817294848&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wakingtimes.com%2F2020%2F01%2F09%2Fopposing-iran-war-doesnt-make-you-conservative-or-liberal-it-makes-you-smart%2F

To those paying attention, and not buying the same lies, quite literally, that got us into both quagmires in Afghanistan and Iraq, this march to war with Iran started well before Trump came into office. Iran is a country who is rich in resources and operates outside of the US Dollar. This makes them an enemy to the establishment and slated for invasion.

It has been the plan since Bill Clinton was in office and was documented in the neoconservative PNAC report. This was even admitted by General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, that the U.S. planned on going to war with Iran, according to a 2001 memo from the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

“This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years,” Clark said. “Starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finishing off with Iran.”

Now, we have Mike Pompeo regurgitating the same lines Dick Cheney used to convince Americans that war with Iraq was a good idea. Last week, Pompeo on CNN said the US has “every expectation” that people “in Iran will view the American action last night (assassinating a general beloved by the country) as giving them freedom.” Sound familiar? It should.

In 2003, Dick Cheney said the same thing. “I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months,” he said. The “weeks” have turned into 17 years and hundreds of thousands of innocent lives lost while accomplishing nothing.

Now, these same people are salivating over a similar but far more dangerous intervention in Iran and somehow many Americans think it will be different this time. Spoiler alert: It won’t.

The only thing different this time is the lack of support from US allies around the world who are watching in dismay as America attempts to launch World War III. As Thomas Luongo points out:

Normally when something like this happens the U.S. has all of its allies lined up with statements at the ready. A gaggle of the usual suspects behind lecterns pledging support replete with the requisite hand-wringing and virtue signaling.

That didn’t happen this time. Only arm-twisting by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cajoled a few lukewarm responses from European allies stunned by Trump’s violations of International Law and escalation of hostilities.

It’s clear Trump stunned them into silence.

Because they know the world is more dangerous today than it was a week ago.

Indeed.

The time is now for Americans to wake up and realize that a war with Iran, with no support from other countries, will make America the bad guys. Iran isn’t invading other countries and bombing them. America is. Iran is assassinating foreign leaders on peace missions. America is. Iran is building bases around the world and bending nations to their will through threats and drone strikes. America is.

Do not mistake the anti-Iran war stance as support for Iran. This is the tactic of the establishment. You can be against the Iranian state and still be against the war. You can be a Democrat and be against the war just like you can be a Republican and be against the war. It’s called thinking for yourself and realizing that this war will be hell.

Iran is no bastion of freedom, but this conflict that will result from further provocation with them will be far worse than any petty tyrant asserting their will in the Middle East. Supporting this war makes you complicit in the hellish reality that will ensue. It makes you the opposite of a patriot. It makes you a sheep being willingly led off to slaughter.

About the Author

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds.

Read more great articles at Waking Times.




‘No War With Iran’ Marches Set for Thursday Across US

Marches against war with Iran will take place across the U.S. (Image: NoWarWithIran)

By Eoin Higgins | Common Dreams

A coalition of progressive groups has announced plans to come together this Thursday to lead marches across the U.S. against President Donald Trump’s push to wage war on Iran.

Win Without War, MoveOn, Indivisible, Vets About Face, and the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) are among the groups leading the demonstrations.

“Nearly 50 events around the country, more to come,” Jamal Abdi, NIAC president, tweeted Tuesday.

The conflict between Iran and the U.S. reached a new height last week when, on January 3, a drone strike ordered by Trump assassinated Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani. Iran has vowed to retaliate for the killing of the popular—and powerful—Soleimani, with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif calling the attack “rogue adventurism.”

According to a Tuesday press release from the coalition, Thursday’s marches will focus on beating back continuing White House threats to attack Iran.

“In the wake of the Trump administration’s reckless assassination of Iranian General Soleimani, and threats to escalate a conflict, activists carrying a ‘no war’ message will urge restraint and that the United States avoid yet another unnecessary, costly war of choice in the Middle East,” the group said.

At press time there were 66 marches and demonstrations planned, with more to come.

Find an event near you here.

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share it widely.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams




Is Finding Inner Peace and Happiness Possible in A Chaotic World?

We live in a busy and agitated world which makes us feel a lot of social pressure, stress, and anxiety because of the numerous tasks which we need to complete both for our professional lives and the daily tasks from our personal lives. Unfortunately, we have to deal on a daily basis with numerous bad things which makes us feel like we are living in a chaotic environment which is hard to keep up with. Rude people who do not care about the moral values anymore such as respect, honesty, or kindness, heavy traffic which makes us waste a lot of time in our personal cars away from our loved ones, pollution, numerous diseases which stop us all from enjoying our lives to its fullest, and natural disasters which bring a huge amount of unhappiness to the people who are suffering the consequences of them. So, you would think that finding your inner peace and happiness in a chaotic world which seems to make great advancements when it comes to technology but forgets about the humane parts of the individuals with all its flaws, emotions, and thoughts is impossible. However, you need to be aware that no matter what you are going through and what surrounds you, happiness is a matter of choice which you are responsible for. Read below how you can be happy and in peace with yourself even in a world where chaos seems to predominate.

Be the change you want to see

You need to be aware that the world which we live in has advanced so much among time due to the bravery of some individuals who had the courage to think outside of the box and maintain their opinions even if the societies which they were part of believed that they are crazy. If you are not satisfied with the chaos which surrounds you in today’s world, you need to take initiative and be the change you want to see. Whether you wish to see more kindness between individuals or believe that a boss should not treat his or her employees as robots, all you have to do is to teach the others by being the best example. Even if you think that you do not have the power to bring a major change to what surrounds you, every major change has started with a small but brilliant idea.

Live in the present moment

Finding your inner peace and happiness means to be satisfied with all your emotions and thoughts. One of the best ways to be happy is to live in the present moment and forget about the regrets which you have for the past or the fears which you have for the future. once you understand that the only time which you can fully enjoy and control is the present moment, you will only focus on enjoying each moment of your life to its fullest. Living in the present moment and practicing gratitude for what you have are definitely going to eliminate the negative thoughts or emotions which sometimes fill your mind and heart with sorrow.

Meditate

From times to times, we all need a little moment for a deep breath to relief all the stress and anxiety which we are all dealing with on a daily basis. The best way to quiet your mind for a little bit so that you can detach from the avalanche of feelings and thoughts which overwhelm you is to practice meditation. A simple exercise which can easily be practiced by anyone, no matter the time of the day. All you need to do is to find a quiet spot where you can close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and allow your mind to wander for a little bit.

Create a wellness home environment

Your home is the environment in which you spend most of your time. Since we live in a chaotic world where we are surrounded by loud noises and more negativity than positive things, your home should be the place where you can feel comfortable and safe and protected from all the things from the outside world. When you get home, you should instantly feel a feeling of positivism and protection like nothing bad could happen and you could just enjoy the familiarity of a place which is your comfort zone. In order to create a home environment which will create the best context for you to feel in peace and happiness, you need a home which is a healthy and safe environment. Apart from the fact that you need to decorate your house with the things which give you a positive mood, your house should also be a clean and healthy environment. Improving your home environment in order to make it a healthy one for you, you need to make sure that you always keep your house clean and get an indoor air quality testing to make sure that you are not exposed to a lower or dangerous air to breathe which can cause numerous diseases which would stop you from enjoying your life.

Eliminate negativity from your life

As mentioned before, once you realize that happiness is a matter of choice and that you are the one responsible for your own, finding your inner peace and happiness will not seem impossible anymore. letting go to things or persons from your life is hard, even if they make you unhappy. However, you need to be aware of your true value and stop allowing those things which affect you to do it. Learn that sometimes, no matter how much it hurts at the beginning, letting go of something which brings sadness to you is the best option. Only by eliminating all the negative things from your life, you are going to learn how to be happy.

Keep smiling

Unfortunately, sometimes, we all have to deal with difficult challenges which seem to be impossible to overcome which take all our motivation and make us feel incredibly sad and awaken negative thoughts and emotions inside us. However, no matter what you are going through, you need to remember to keep your head up and keep smiling because everything passes and you will eventually be able to be happy again.




For The Holidays, Let’s Remember That Peace is Not Only the Goal, but the Path By Which We Get There

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought ProjectWaking Times

Earlier this month, Stephen Carr, 27, of Fayetteville, Arkansas was sitting in his patrol car when London T. Phillips, 35, approached his car and opened fire. Carr was murdered in cold blood, having been shot 10 times. Carr became one of several officers in 2019 to die in ambush-style attacks.

These apparently unprovoked attacks on individuals who were not directly involved in threatening the life of anyone are a hindrance to the progression of liberty and police accountability.

Random acts of violence will only serve to undo what little progress those of us in the peace movement have accomplished and in fact, will reverse it and prevent any future progress.

In fact, it is already happening — even when cops are the murderers.

Earlier this year, after four cops were shot in Houston during a raid on an innocent couple all based on lies, Houston Police Officers’ Union President Joe Gamaldi took to the airwaves to threaten anyone who criticizes police. 

“If you’re the ones that are out there spreading the rhetoric that police officers are the enemy, just know we’ve all got your number now, we’re going to be keeping track of all of y’all, and we’re going to make sure that we hold you accountable every time you stir the pot on our police officers. We’ve had enough, folks. We’re out there doing our jobs every day, putting our lives on the line for our families.”

He never apologized once it was discovered that his officers were likely shot by friendly fire and the two cops responsible for the raid had lied to obtain a warrant. Nevertheless, the divide between the police and the policed grew further. And, it apparently seems to keep growing.

On a daily basis, people take to our Facebook pages and the comments section of this website to call for the death of cops. This needs to stop.

Violently attacking the government creates victims out of the ones we are trying to expose as criminals.

Those who initiate and support such violence will be complicit in creating the hellish police state that will inevitably ensue as a consequence of their actions.

We can simply look back to 9-11 as an example of what is to come if this violence continues.

Prior to 9-11, the TSA did not exist, indefinite detention did not exist, the NSA did not spy on American citizens, the police weren’t given armored assault vehicles, and Americans could not be assassinated without trial.

If these acts of aggressive violence against the state continue, we can expect to see what little civil liberties are left to be whisked away in the name of protection from the ‘domestic terror threat.’

We can expect to see peaceful activists rounded up and detained indefinitely. We can expect to see homes raided by individuals who are speaking out against the state. We will see more and more checkpoints and less and less unmolested travel.

If you think that the American people can somehow win in a war against the military-industrial complex that the US has built up in the last two decades, you are seriously delusional.

Your AR-15 will do nothing against thermal imaging predator drones equipped with Raytheon’s small tactical munitions designed for blowing up single homes. They will not stop the MRAP as it plows through your front door. No matter how you slice it, the most well-armed American citizen is no match for the hundreds of billions spent annually by the US on warfare.

No, this battle will not be won with weaponry as the US spends more annually on defense than the next 13 largest militaries in the world—combined.

Also, the above scenarios don’t take into account the public’s support. If a group of people rise up and claim to be freedom fighters and they do not have the support of the citizens, well, that “revolution,” was over before it started.

If anyone thinks that killing cops and/or praising the death of innocent people, will amass public opinion in their favor, again, they are seriously delusional.

Even if a large group was able to get public support and engaged in a war against the government, imagine the horrid reality that would ensue. The US would literally be a war zone and quickly languish into third-world status.

As a former Marine, I know that before I woke up to this tyranny, I would have done anything my leaders told me, including initiating force against Americans; especially if there were an increase in the prevalence of unprovoked violence against the state like we’ve seen over the years.

However, I also know first hand how people can change once presented with the information that frees them from their statist bonds. Most of these police officers are simply brainwashed into thinking they are doing the right thing. They just need to see their true reflection enough times to realize that they are not. It is up to you and me to provide this reflection.

That is why we must win the hearts and minds of the people within the state. We must expose as much of their violence and corruption as we can, for that is what wins support; not murder.

We must show that those of us who stand against the drug war, attacks on civil liberties, and gun rights, are the good guys. We are not some violent group of terrorists who are quick to don the pitchforks and torches and beg for blood.

Removal of due process, the initiation of violence, and abuse of power; these are tools of the state, not of the peaceful revolution.

Those who would take an innocent life to incite change are no different than the mass-murdering sociopaths within the government.

‘But police are not innocent,’ some will say. What are statements such as that one, other than calls to remove due process and act as judge, jury, and executioner, just like the corrupt police?

Yes, police uphold a system of immoral laws that lead to the harassment, kidnapping, and death of innocent people. But these are mere symptoms of a much larger problem.

The police state didn’t suddenly pop up overnight. It’s a product of society. More accurately, it’s a symptom, of a sick society, that we are all complicit in creating.

Our only means of changing this sick society is changing ourselves. We have to remove our dependency upon a group of people who use violent coercion to achieve what they refer to as “order.” When enough of us do this, the police state becomes irrelevant.

To quote Butler Shaffer from his eye-opening book, The Wizards of Ozymandias, 

“We will not become free when the state goes away. Rather the state will go away once we are free.”

Taking an aspirin for a headache only masks the symptom of the headache, it does not eliminate the cause.

One cannot eliminate future headaches by constantly taking aspirin, in the same manner, that one cannot change a violent state by acting within the rules of that state; violence will only be met with more violence and more support for the state.

We must show that policing society does not have to be like this. We must expose the faults of this archaic system of using violence to solve every problem that arises.

We must show that there are alternatives to this type of policing and these alternatives will eventually make the old system obsolete. This has already begun.

We are now witnessing the free market reacting to an incompetent and violent police state by creating alternative means of community security.

Apps like peacekeeper, which connects community members directly to each other to foster community interdependence by empowering community members to protect one another, have popped up over the years as a reaction to police violence and corruption.

Organizations like the Threat Management Center in Detroit are popping up in response to police incompetence and negligence, and they are proving to be magnitudes more effective than actual police.

The new system is being built and it is quickly showing the obsolescence of the old.

But here is the kicker, all these alternatives go away as long as people keep initiating senseless violence. We can say goodbye to all these positive aspects of society reacting peacefully to the police state. Every act of senseless violence is a step backward in the fight for freedom.

Do not mistake this as a call to pacifism. No one is advocating that you lay down and lick the boots of tyrants as they oppress you.

Self-defense is a natural right. This is why we see cases like Kimberly Moore, 54, and Eduardo Padilla, 33, not being charged for defending their home from cops who unlawfully raided it.

The actions that we are taking now like filming the police, photographing and documenting their corruption and standing up to their immoral rule, are the real catalysts of change; and again, they will all go away if the violence continues.

This one photograph from Kent state, showing the murderous nature of the police state did more to incite change than any amount of violence could ever do.

The video of Eric Garner did not lead to the indictment of officer Pantaleo, but it set off a wave of peaceful resistance as we’ve never seen. Sports figures, movie stars, newscasters, and even lawmakers rallied together to put an end to this senseless police brutality.

If you think that we are losing this battle, think again.

Police are frequently contacting The Free Thought Project and asking how they can help stop this ridiculous police state and we are working with them to find new ways.

There are organizations like LEAP (formerly Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, now Law Enforcement Action Partnership) that are fighting the odds and standing up to their own peers and seeking peaceful change.

There are officers and entire departments quitting their jobs when the corruption becomes too much to handle. Entire departments are also fighting to end the drug war and supporting gun rights.

There are movements across the country that are forcing police departments to carry their own personal liability insurance. This would stop the unaccountable flow of taxpayer dollars to pay for police misconduct, and hold the officers directly responsible for their actions.

We are winning and can beat these tyrants. But if people continue to stoop to the same level of senseless violence and removal of due process as them, we will not only lose but guarantee that there will never be another opportunity to resist again.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” —Martin Luther King Jr., from Strength to Love, 1963

About the Author

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds.

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