Russia – Georgia Confrontation | Global Implications

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Dear Friends, it would be useful to have your considered input
in regard to the global implications of the Russia-Georgia
confrontation…

… we are deeply concerned about the escalating conflict and we pray for the well being of the innocent victims.

To reflect further on this, please respond on "ATCA Open" within IntentBlog, Facebook or LinkedIn.

We welcome your thoughts, observations and views. Thank you.

With love and warm wishes to you and family

DK with family

An Experience of God

Is there a God or isn’t there? Is there a God because billions of people believe in him or is there a God because no one can prove that there isn’t? Or maybe there is no God, because no one was able to prove that there is one?

Christopher is reading a book on this very subject at the moment and once in a while treats me to little excerpts. As I listen to them what comes to my mind, every time, is an excerpt from one of my favorite books: "the Master and the Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov.

It would be to long a quote, so I’ll summarize it: one hot summer evening in Moscow a poet and an editor sit on a park bench talking about Jesus. The story happens in fifties, the very middle of deep communism, which of course denied that any such "opium for the masses" as the stories about God could actually be true.

The poet just wrote a poem about Christ and the editor explains that, while the poet succeeded in painting Christ as an exceptionally untrustworthy scoundrel, he still gave the impression that Christ actually existed. Now that, of course, is absolutely unacceptable, proves the editor. He brings plenty of examples, being a highly educated man, of other religions, myths and cultures that had the same stories about the Son of God – all of which turned out to be nothing more than fairy tales.

While the editor proves the point of Christ’s nonexistence a Devil happens to come by, disguised as a foreign professor. He joins the poet and the editor on the bench, asks the editor to continue and listens with great interest to the rest of the argument, in which the editor proves conclusively that there is and there never was any such thing as Christ, God or Devil.

The scene ends with the Devil saying:

""Bear in mind that Jesus did exist." "You see, Professor," Berlioz responded with a forced smile, "we respect your great learning, but on this question we hold a different point of view." "There’s no need for any points of view," the strange professor replied, "he simply existed, that’s all.""

But of course there is no proof. But why do we need a proof? And if we don’t – do we have any other options besides belief?

It seems to me that there are two general ways of dealing with the God problem: we can either believe in him or not.
If we do believe in God then we don’t need any proofs, we find someone who tells us that there is God and we take his word for it. If we don’t take anyone’s word for it then there is no God. If we don’t believe in him, then he doesn’t exist.

As I thought about this yesterday I realized that I have a third alternative to offer. An alternative that does not require a middle man, does not require a belief and does not require proofs or logical explanations.

An experience. A simple experience of God. A direct, undeniable experience of being God.

Do I need to believe that I had an experience? I just had it, believing or not will not change anything. Do I have to prove that I had an experience? I just had it. That’s a proof. Do I need to explain the experience to myself? I may if I wish to, I can call the experience whatever I want, but will that influence the experience itself? Will it change it?

I experience what I experience, simple as that. If I experience God – then I experience God. There is nothing more to it.

Of course there is plenty more to it from mind’s point of view: the mind will need to explain, contain, integrate, classify. The mind might think that it found the ultimate truth, the only truth, the one truth, the right answer. The mind will naturally separate the experience from other experiences, it will then start explaining it, protecting it, defending it. The mind will try to make other minds "see the truth". It will write books (and blogs) telling everyone about this "Truth". It will form organizations around it. It will hold long discussions with other minds who don’t agree, or don’t believe.

But before mind gets to do all that … there is an experience.

Not knowing – experiencing.

Not believing – experiencing.

Not understanding – experiencing.

Being.

Carrying the Torch of Hope: Beijing Then and Now

A
lavish
opening ceremony and spectacular lighting of the Olympic cauldron
formally began the Beijing Games, as 205 nations, 11,000
athletes and the eyes of the world were trained upon China under the
banner
"One Dream, One World."

Many of us working in the women’s world
movement for the past decade and beyond were spirited
back to memories of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the NGO
Forum for Women held in Beijing in 1995.

Each
of the parallel conferences had official opening ceremonies and their
own events, representing a historic moment for Beijing and the
world. The two conferences, together and separately, were the largest ever
sponsored by the United Nations.

Questions
around security, privacy, censorship, politics, environment and human rights
were all part of the controversy and commentary as it is today. As
discussions around these elements proliferate, I can’t help
but wonder how much different things are, and are not, for the people
of China and the women of our world, then and now.

Throughout
the past few months, I’ve spent numerous hours reviewing
official documents, accounts and archival film clips from this pivotal milestone in feminine history. I have
considered thoughtfully the nuances and legal-ease of the Beijing
Platform for Action, as well as detailed accounts of
the grueling and challenging process of how this Declaration was
borne. I can feel the pulse of possibility from the nearly 50,000 attendees and
their countless supporters back home, as well as their
vision and determination to weave the world into a better
place.

And
the Dream continues.

Today
I spend most of my time busily working on another
"herstoric" gathering, this one the Sophia Women’s World
Conference to be held in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2010. Our vision is to carry this
Torch of Hope into a new constellation of collaborative relationships
and multi-sector alliances for change. We touch this
mantle reverently, knowing we stand on
sacred shoulders, following footprints that have gone before
us toward a grand horizon yet to come.

May
Sophia Guide Us with Her Wisdom, Compassion and Love.

Kimberly
King

Sophia
Women’s World Conference

Chair,
Global Communication and Media

Co
Chair, International Partnerships Council

NGO Opening Ceremony

 

Beijing 1995 – NGO Opening Ceremony

NGO Opening Ceremony

 

NGO Opening Ceremony

 

Grassroots tent

Grassroots Women’s Tent

Women's web

 

Women’s web winds its way through
the campus.

 

Trust vs. Giving Up

Question:

What is the difference between trust and ‘giving up’? Does the experience of being guided by one’s higher self depend on the healthiness of one’s body and mind? ie. Can a person be too exhausted to be aware of whatever guidance the spirit is trying to provide?

Answer:

I would say that trust implies that you are maintaining a connection of consciousness to the eventual outcome. Giving up is an abdication of that connection along with any action, responsibility or benefit that might ensue. Ideally, trust includes within it the deep recognition that your own dharmic action will certainly lead to a result that is in your soul

Objectivity of Consciousness

There is a widespread (mis)understanding that consciousness or
conscious experiences are purely subjective. This (mis)understanding is
a direct artifact of the subjectivity (disguised as objectivity) of the
mainstream scientific approach limited to Object-ism or materialistic
measurements alone.

The true objectivity is the universality and not object-ism. While
the real meaning of objectivity is the universal verifiability of a
phenomenon or experience, the word

Taking care of yourself

Dear Friends,

Greetings

Taking care of yourself

Many of us have so many responsibilities in life that we tend to forget to take care of ourselves. Our health and well being is a very important aspect of our spiritual growth. We need to have a body/mind capable of taking us on this journey of enlightenment. How do we go about nurturing our body/mind?.

Nourish your physical body through nutritious/wholesome food, regular exercise, restful sleep. We get energy not only through food, but also through pulsating life force that is available from nature. So spending time in nature is important to get energy and vitality. Interacting ,talking and listening to your body is a great way to honor your body. You can offer your gratitude to your body everyday. Take some time to appreciate the beauty of your body.

Our emotional bodies are nourished through joy. We are gifted with five sense organs to enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature. Listening to sounds of nature, indulging in fragrances of flowers/spices, seeing the colors/shades of nature in various forms, including variety of tastes in our food, exposing our body to the touch of fresh air and sunlight will not only give you joy, but also relaxes and nourishes the whole body/mind. You can commit yourself to do atleast one thing everyday that brings you joy. Laughing at yourself, laughing at the paradox of life will help you to keep situations in perspective and light hearted.

Our mental bodies can be nourished by being curious and learning something new, by being creative and doing something new, by taking a break from routine life, by allowing your mind to quiet down, by expanding your perspective on life.

None of what is written in this message is new or radical. Though these are simple principles that are known to us throughout our life, the only reason we don’t follow them is we don’t give priority for taking care of ourselves. Whether your goal is enlightenment or not, caring for your body/mind is essential to achieve your dreams/desires and for the happiness that you are seeking. So take sometime to take care of yourself.

You can read all the previous messages posted at http://www.intent.com/venky/blog

Peace,

Venkatesh

The Illusion of a “Free” War, Part 1

Societies don’t remain the same after a war but find that they have radically changed. Sometimes the change is catastrophic, sometimes not. But it can never be ignored. A major undercurrent in the 2008 presidential campaign centers on this fact, because the people who devised and promoted the Iraq war want to preserve the illusion that nothing in America has really changed, when in fact a host of illusions died on the battlefield. On the other side, the anti-war party (as the Democrats became de facto over the past five years) is struggling to invent new realities to replace these lost illusions. The public is caught in between, for there’s no doubt that comforting illusions have a way of springing back to life, if only history could be reversed.

Consider the major illusions that perished — or should have — in Iraq:

1. The illusion of a "free" war.

2. The illusion that American nationalism is good nationalism.

3. The illusion of America as the friendly superpower.

4. The illusion that alliances are expendable.

5. The illusion that America and the free market are synonymous.

Each one has a complex history and will continue to, but there’s no doubt that reality has shifted so dramatically as to undercut all these false beliefs.

1. The illusion of a "free" war. In the wake of the first Gulf war and the so-called Powell doctrine, it was supposed to be true that overwhelming force could reduce U.S. casualties to a bare minimum. Conflicts would essentially cost us close to nothing as long as victory was certain beforehand and technology could quickly overpower an under-equipped enemy. But this notion of a "free" war was dead before it began, as witness the quagmire of Vietnam and the Soviet experience in Afghanistan. A determined insurrection cannot be defeated quickly, easily, or by conventional means.

Iraq was supposedly free in other ways. The war was going to pay for itself through Iraq’s resurgent oil revenues — until the rebels started blowing up pipelines and terrorizing the contractors hired to rebuild the oil industry. Another free aspect was the social cost on both sides. The Iraqi population was going to suffer minimal damage compared to Saddam’s elite corps of soldiers in the shock and awe campaign. Instead, innocent citizens died by the tens of thousands, while the Iraqi army dispersed into the shadows and turned into bitter insurrectionists. As for minimal loss to American civilians, it’s true that only a small percentage have been wounded or killed, but the vast majority became lulled into allowing the war to continue years after it failed, thus promoting and extending its toxic effects.

2. The illusion that American nationalism is good nationalism. (One could easily say the only good nationalism so far as the right wing is concerned, since God approves of it wholeheartedly) Because of the humanitarian effect of the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe in the late forties, the U.S. firmly believes that it holds a patent on good nationalism, the kind that the whole world loves. We are shocked to find out that we might be hated elsewhere, and when that revelation dawns, our nationalism reverts to the bad kind, which invades, kills, and wreaks havoc. After five years of doing this in Iraq, and threatening more of the same in Iran, a realist would abandon good nationalism for something more palatable to the world at large.

Specifically, the U.S. possesses such strength that it can afford to put nationalism on the back burner and reinvent itself as the leader of a global interests vision. There are stirrings of this new role, and it may yet prevail. But a huge amount of old conditioning has to be overcome. We are conditioned to believe that the U.S. is the freest country on earth, which makes no sense given the equal freedom enjoyed in England, Australia, Canada, Scandinavia, and the rest of Western Europe. We conveniently forget the numerous countries, as many as 29 by some counts, that the U.S. has either invaded or tampered with internally since the Fifties.

We overlook our greedy overconsumption of natural resources. Most of all, we use nationalism as a wall, protecting our insular view of the world — in large part the fiasco of the Iraq war was due to deep ignorance about that country and Islam in general. Finally, American nationalism is outdated, running on the fumes of victory in World War II and the notion of defeating nation-based enemies through a large standing army, when in reality the enemy is diverse, scattered, and free from national boundaries. The invasion of Iraq was a nationalist cause to begin with based on landing in Normandy on D-Day, again an illusion that should have died in Vietnam but refused to.

(to be cont.)

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