Independents Day – A People’s Upwising

“We have a deeply-divided body politic in America. Half the population believes our elections are broken. The other half believe they are fixed.” — Swami Beyondanandafourth-of-july-pic

When I was a kid, my favorite humorist was someone you’ve probably never heard of, H. Allen Smith. Smith grew up in small town America in the early decades of the 20th century, back when “city slickers” came to these small towns to hustle and bilk “country rubes”. One of the classic games was the old shell game where the perpetrator deftly moves a thimble or walnut shell over a pea and the “marks” have to guess which thimble the pea is under.

According to Smith, as a young child he happened upon one of these games in the town square. After observing the game for a while, young Smith blurted out: “Maybe it ain’t under any of ‘em.”

What followed was an uncomfortable yet profound silence. The con artist swiftly packed his table and was off to the next unsuspecting town.

And the point is?

Just as surely as the innocent perception of a child was able to bust the trance of the shell game, an awakening body politic is now beginning to see through the con game called “two party politics mediated by a media determined to create lots and lots of heat, and very little light”.

As we mark July 4th, Independence Day this year, maybe we should celebrate “Independents Day” as more people than ever before are declaring their independence from a two-party system where the vast majority of the American people haven’t been invited to the party. Not that we aren’t hit up for presents. Not a day goes by I don’t get an email from the Democratic Party with an alarming headline and a piece that goes: “The Koch Brothers … ooga booga blah blah blah, send us money!”

Since I am an equal-opportunity masochist, I’m on the conservative lists too, and those emails go: “Obama … ooga booga blah blah blah, send us money!”

Now maybe this isn’t EXACTLY like the shell game — more like the extortion game. It’s not enough that the commonwealth is being drained of resource by the uncommonly wealthy Koch Brothers. Now their thievery is being used to steal even more money from the American people — in the guise of fighting them. As anyone who has voted Democrat as the lesser evil will attest, you can count on the Democrats in the same way Charlie Brown could count on Lucy pulling away the football every time he tries to kick it.

However … an upwising is afoot. More and more Americans are wising up to the political sideshow as a “debate and switch” shell game, where weapons of mass-distraction are used to keep us from addressing the fundamental issue of governance — who’s in charge of who’s in charge?

There are definitely signs of a “transpartisan” movement to liberate us from the partisan trance and “overgrow” the system.

A recent poll indicates that 42% of Americans now call themselves “independents” — more than ever before — with just 31% identifying themselves as Democrats, and a record low 25% as Republicans.

People are waking up literally “left and right” as progressives are looking past Hillary (whom Swami Beyondananda has described as a “Wolfowitz in Sheepowitz’s clothing”) to Elizabeth Warren, and Tea Partiers are likewise looking askew at corporatism.

Consider that the upstart “Brat” who defeated corporatist neocon Eric Cantor in Virginia stated that Cantor “does not represent the citizens of the 7th district, but rather large corporations seeking insider deals, crony bailouts, and constant supply of low-wage workers.”

Mark my words (or, if you prefer, mock my words) there will be an “independents” movement in 2016 that will change the political landscape forever. These independents — independent of the Democrats, the Republicans, and the corporate media who have until now defined the parameters of political conversation — will naturally call forth the “interdependence” of progressive greens and libertarian conservatives looking to create a new alliance that finally reunites progressives and populists.

Yes, certain issues will still divide us. And … as more and more Americans recognize that “divide-and-conquer” has been used against the common people since the days of the Roman empire, the famous Patrick Henry quote, “United we stand, divided we fall” will come to represent a newly-united body politic around the issues 80% or 90 % of us agree on. According to transpartisan activist Lawrence Lessig, more than 90% of Americans believe it’s important to reduce the influence of money in politics. The same 90%, however, are resigned to “a corrupt status quo”, believing that situation (or more accurately, shituation) won’t change any time soon.

That’s what the “upwising” is all about. At some point — ideally before the 2016 elections — a critical mass of the heretofore uncritical masses — will wise up and rise up together to “overgrow” the current corrupt system.

As we mark the 238th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, it’s important for us to look past the shortcomings of what some progressives shortsightedly dismiss as “slave-holding white guys” to honor and amplify the evolutionary radicalism of this document.

The Declaration begins, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …”

Until that time, only kings could grant “rights” and declaring that governments derive legitimacy from “consent of the governed” would in most places be a ticket to either the dungeon or the madhouse.

And yet … this is the document that our governance is founded on. According to the Declaration of Independence, the true sovereign in this nation is “we the people”. We may finally be on the threshold of having the psychological, spiritual and political maturity to grant ourselves the power to oversee governance — rather than “overlook” it, as we have done until now.

Faced with a system that is so rigged, so corrupt, so dysfunctional, we may finally discover the inner resources to become the citizens our Founders dreamed of. Fortunately, we now have the technological tools to communicate beyond the boundaries of the mainstream media, to aggregate in a “digital town square”, to instantly measure the public’s position on any issue, and to come together in constructive conversation to work together and empower a better story.

We have the wherewithal, and the next two years will be about cultivating the “aware-with-all” — and perhaps with all the awareness, we can once and for all establish government of the people, by the people, for the people where the government does OUR bidding, not the bidding of the highest bidder.

The evolution has begun, and we encourage you to join the upwising!

(To find out more, please send us an email)

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5 Reasons I’m Supporting Marianne Williamson for Congress

“We don’t need a new third party in America — we need a new FIRST party.”
– Swami Beyondananda

There’s that classic bumpersticker I saw again recently: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention!”

Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson

I would take that sentiment and reframe it more positively: “If you are awake and aware, you know that NOW is the time for a movement to overgrow the current political and economic dysfunction.”

That statement calls forth two questions: How do we launch such a movement, and how do we sustain and accelerate it?

Indeed many, many people are feeling frustrated — and despair even — at a political system that seems to be less and less responsive to the will of the people (unless, of course, those “people” happen to be corporations). Combine this with the burgeoning planetary “shituation” of global warming, and many folks would find sad truth in Stephen Colbert’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion that we simply do nothing and run out the clock.

Of course there is the minor issue of what we tell our children and grandchildren.

In any case, my sense is there is a ripeness in both urgency and awareness — which is why I am supporting my friend Marianne Williamson in her campaign for Congress as an Independent. You might ask, what difference would it make for one individual to be elected at a time when the moneyed forces seem to be occupying every seat of power?

The short answer has to do with an idea the great practical philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller pointed out decades ago — the trim-tab. In a Playboy interview in 1972, Bucky said:

Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Mary — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab.

It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go. So I said, call me Trim Tab.

It may not be exactly as easy as Bucky suggests … and … a small thing like one courageous and articulate independent being elected to Congress and an even smaller thing — you mobilizing your friends and colleagues in California’s 33rd District to register by May 19th and vote for Marianne on June 3rd — can likewise have an impact. Here are five reasons why:

1. A Coherent and Pertinent Message. Marianne and her campaign are addressing the two most fundamental and significant issues facing America and the world today — and she is combining them in a unique and effective way. Those issues are the unchecked, unbalanced, and unmitigated power of money to determine the rules of governance and public policy … AND … the absence of the sacred in the public sphere. Think about it. Why do you imagine the power of money is so powerful, and why do we so easily accept that power? I say it’s because it’s because we are so divided into religious vs. secular tribes that we don’t recognize the virtues and values people from across the political and spiritual spectrum have in common. There is a sense of sacred that includes and transcends both religion and non-religion, and that is the unifying power and story that Marianne speaks to. In saying we need to take money out of politics, she is also saying we need to re-invite and insert the sacred in its place. She has the ability to articulate this distinction, and her campaign is doing just that.

2. She is running as an Independent. Marianne recognizes that the Democratic Party is just as firmly and dysfunctionally entrenched in pay-to-play politics as the Republicans are, and she is affirming what the American people are already seeing. A Gallup poll early this year found that a record 42% of Americans identify as “independents” — compared to 31% Democrats and 25% Republicans. I would suggest that most of those who identify as “Democrats” would even more fervently identify as “not Republicans”, a sad indication that neither party holds a compelling vision for the future. Marianne does.

3. She Can Win. In the heavily Democratic 33rd Congressional District (which includes the cities of Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Calabasas, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Marina del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Palos Verdes Estates, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, Topanga, Venice and Westwood), Marianne more closely represents the values of Democratic voters than the candidates the Democratic Party is running. Since voter turnout in off-year primaries can be as low as 20% of the eligible voters, a focused campaign of inspired voters could pull this off. Keep in mind that in California’s open primaries, no party affiliation is required to vote … and the two top vote getters regardless of party will face-off in November.

4. Her Being in the Race in November Will Make News. As Scoop Nisker famously said decades ago, if you don’t like the news make some of your own. One of the great benefits of the Occupy movement two years ago was that it broke the conversation about oligarchy through the “soundless barrier”. Occupy became the news, and as participants were interviewed by mainstream media their message came through loudly and clearly. If Marianne becomes one of the two candidates running in November, she will automatically have a platform to speak to the press, locally and nationally. Should she be elected to Congress in November, she will be a voice perhaps more pertinent and articulate than either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

5. This is YOUR Chance to Participate. During the Kennedy years, more than 80% of Americans trusted their government. The latest figures show it’s now more like 20%. Do the math. Do the aftermath. Voter apathy and disgust is at an all-time high. Yes, there was a spike in 2008 as an awakening electorate pinned their hopes on Obama. Now that the hopium has worn off, the liberating news is that more than ever, it is up to us. If you live in the 33rd District, this is your chance to cast a MEANINGFUL vote. If you don’t, it’s a chance to encourage your friends and family who do live there to cast THEIR meaningful vote. And you can support the campaign financially. As the Swami says, “It takes money to take the money out of politics!”

Here’s how YOU can make a difference NOW:

1. If you live in the 33rd District, make sure you are registered (the deadline is May 19th, this coming Monday) and make sure you vote for Marianne on Tuesday, June 3rd.

2. If you don’t live in the 33rd District, share this message with folks who do! Post the link on your Facebook page, post it on your blog, and CALL the people you know who live in that district. DO IT NOW!! The deadline to register is Monday, so this weekend is our window.

3. Donate money to Marianne’s campaign, and consider volunteering. You can find out more right here: http://www.marianneforcongress.com/

In these volatile and unpredictable times, ONE VICTORY could be the trim tab to turn the ship of state around. A victory in June, and then again in November might just be the spark to jumpstart the heart of a once disheartened and now awakening body politic. This is your chance to be a part of it now.

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Institutionalized Insanity and Humanity’s Existential Crisis

“I know what you’re thinking.  I am proposing a sane world — I must be crazy.”
– Swami Beyondananda

Japan just made reality illegal.

Well, maybe I exaggerate just a little.  Reality is still permitted to exist in Japan — it’s just illegal to talk about it.  A new — and thankfully very unpopular – State Secrets Act makes whistleblowing (and reporting leaks from whistleblowers) illegal, and punishable by ten years in prison!

While this law was ostensibly passed to prevent “state secrets” being passed to “enemies”, it is far more likely that the current batch of state secrets are to cover up the mega-disaster at Fukushima, and the enemies are none other than the Japanese people, and people everywhere.  So while TEPCO can continue leaking radioactive poison into the ocean, reporters cannot leak stories about it.

Welcome to the world of institutionalized insanity, where Official Media selling Official Stories insist that we the people ignore our eyes, ears, and senses — not to mention worldwide reports of raised levels of radiation in Alaska and California, and mysterious die-offs of starfish in the Pacific.

Fortunately, we have organizations like Project Censored  to publish a more balanced account, and a respectable ecologist David Suzuki to offer a grim warning.

Indeed, many of those who allow themselves to pay attention see the Fukushima meltdown as what may be the beginning of the end of human life on earth, and even more likely the collapse of civilization as we know it.

While there are actually people who get some strange “juice” from tales of doom and gloom, I am not one of those.  And … I am also not willing to put my head in the sand and pretend that the insane is somehow sane.  Here is my sober assessment of the situation:  Humanity has just received some alarming lab results that indicate we are suffering from a life-threatening condition that will prove fatal unless we take immediate, collective action.

We can speculate if the world leaders are just dazed and confused, or whether there is a concerted effort to “run out the clock” and make sure that the population is appropriately controlled and drugged during the dying process.  Either way, it is now up to the people of the world.  Do we want to live, or do we want to quietly die?

Again, I say none of this lightly.

No one wants to face our children and grandchildren and say, “Sorry about that.  Guess we left you with life-threatening challenges and an increasingly toxified world of scarcity.  But no worries.  You can still watch reality TV to avoid watching reality.”

Yes, crisis precipitates evolutionary opportunity.  And … the window of opportunity will only stay open so long.  When the window is gone, well … so long.

Humanity’s Existential Crisis

Humanity is undergoing an existential crisis in a very real way.  We are in the process of choosing if we want to exist or not.  As more and more of us are coming to see, to navigate the evolutionary passage in front of us, we will have to recognize ourselves as cells in one related organism.  Having spent the past 5,000 years focusing on survival of the fittest (we all know that Social Darwinism pre-dated Darwin by about 4,850 years), we must now shift to thrival of the fittingest.  If we fit into the web of life, we survive and thrive.  If we don’t fit, we don’t survive.  And for those of you concerned about the financial costs of making these fundamental changes, I offer this dire warning:  If humanity goes extinct, there goes the GDP!

Reading about the starfish die-off, the elevated radiation levels on the west coast (where I live) and the increasing dangers of a very poorly managed “clean up” at Fukushima, I admit to having dark thoughts this past week.  Someone asked the Swami if he believed in the Big Bang Theory and he said, “Well, I used to.  But now I am leaning more toward the Lone Nut Theory.”

How else could we explain the nuttiness we are experiencing now?

So … what would it be like for a critical mass of the uncritical masses to “go sane” and declare the physical world our “sane asylum”?

First, we must face the dire prognosis with clarity, awareness, courage and resourcefulness.  To take a cue from a wise teacher, Jean Houston, maybe our entire species is undergoing a Hero’s Journey.

We must now collectively (and individually, of course) face our demons, and work together to overcome steep odds.  This means playing an entirely new game, and while the outcome of the new game is still undetermined, we do know that the old game will lead to death.

In Spontaneous Evolution, Bruce Lipton and I talk about the phenomenon called “spontaneous remission.”  A certain percentage of patients who receive a dire prognosis and are told to “go home and get your affairs in order” miraculously recover.  While their recovery might seem like some anomalous act of grace, it turns out that those who recover have something in common.  According to Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, author of Coyote Medicine, spontaneous remission is often accompanied by what he calls “a change of story”.

When Bruce and I wrote this several years ago, we thought of “spontaneous evolution” as a noun in the future.  I now see clearly it is a verb in the present.  Our positive choice is to write and then live into a new story.

The dire prognosis is calling forth evolutionary change, where we gather under “one big intent” to use our collective intelligence intelligently and our resources resourcefully.  We have the technological wherewithal to mobilize the global village.  Now we need the “aware-with-all” and the will, and the willingness.

One of my colleagues and mentors, Donny Epstein, originator of Network Spinal Analysis says, “Pain is an invitation to progress.”  Society’s institutions and misleaders — in seeking to protect what must collapse — are doing everything they can to numb or manage the pain.  As Donny says, to transform the pain, we must first feel it, acknowledge it and accept it.  What would it be like to have the conversation about the true state of the natural world in community, in our churches and spiritual centers, in our schools, and of course in our families?  What would it be like to break this conversation through the “soundless barrier” so the media has to report it?

Donny makes another very powerful distinction that applies here and now.  In his 30 years in the healing professions, he has found that patients who declare, “I want to live” are far more likely to survive and thrive than those who say, “I don’t want to die.”

Please be with that for a few moments.

As a civilization that has lost its spiritual moorings and insists that only the material world is “real”, there is a profound fear of death.  Some sanity in this regard is emerging through the hospice and conscious dying movements.  Still, heroic end-of-life interventions are still the costliest and most futile forms of medicine.

And … along with change of story, one of the markers for overcoming life-threatening conditions is having a compelling future to live for.  So what would it be like for Humanity to declare the future it chooses to live into?  Seriously.  What if there was a positive, proactive mission statement for Humanity, a vector pointing toward greater health, wellbeing and sanity?

Businesses write mission statements, as do individuals who are “up to something”.  What if communities, nations and even our entire human community declared what they seek to bring to the world?  Doesn’t it make sense that every region, every state, every nation has something that it does or creates better than anyone else?  What would it be like for a billion or two billion or three billion people to declare they are choosing a world where there is thrival for all?

And then, what would it be like to actually create a structure and DO something to demonstrate this?

Some 70 years ago, the United States gathered its greatest scientists and resources in a secret project, the Manhattan Project, to build the first weapons of mass-destruction, nuclear power.

What if all of Humanity today called forth our current resources in a massive campaign to create renewable, nonpolluting energy so abundant that no armies are needed to defend it?  We could call it the Man-Helping Project to create a web of mass-construction, new clear power.  Imagine if this were done without the control of any government or single corporation, but simply by a new entity that declared the mission and gathered the resource.

This is an idea whose time has come.  And … it will only happen through our collective awareness, intention and practical focus.  So as we begin a new year, let’s recognize that the evolutionary upwising is fully underway.  Let’s shoot way past apathy and despair, and let’s call forth the healing and transformational energy in our community and world.

Let’s take the bad news coming from Japan and the Pacific Ocean as “karma fuel” to propel us toward what the Swami would call Humanifest Destiny … manifesting our destiny as a healthy and whole species.

Proclaiming and then gathering around this “sane center” in the wake of this low point can be the turning point … and set us on course to the tipping point.

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