The Contemporary Prophetic Perspective

The Enduring Universal Theological Relevance of the 9th of Av and the Prophetic Warnings about the Coming Potential Destruction of Human Life and Perhaps All of Life on the Earth!

Jewish tradition unequivocally says that "because we sinned we were
exiled from our land." The fate of the Jewish people, in other words,
is a direct reflection of the level of our ethical behavior and our
degree of holiness in the world.

Tisha B’av is the day we lament how our behavior as a people keeps
up from finding the fulfillment that a "Promised Land" and "The Temple"
was supposed to bring.

In our own day we mourn the sad ethical state of the State of
Israel. We can mourn the consciousness of the many within the Jewish
people who have made worship of Israel their central religious
doctrine. Go into any shul these days and you can deny God, the
relevance of Torah, the value of observing mitzvot-and you’ll find a
benevolent response from the community, who will quietly and gently try
to instruct you about the Jewish perspective on these questions. But
question the validity of a secular state in the Middle East called The
State of Israel, talk about its immoral behavior toward Palestinians,
and you’ll be labeled an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew, and you’ll
find yourself surrounded by anger and hostility sufficient to drive you
out of that community. Why? Because Israel is the one thing that they
believe in-it’s their god, the center of their religious faith. The
only close 2nd is the materialism and selfishness of the Western world
which Jews have embraced with the same eagerness as most other people
on the planet.

How this happened requires a book length analysis of Jewish and
world history, but the short explanation is that the suffering of the
Jewish people, combined with a view of God that saw God as what my
teacher A.J. Heschel called "a cosmic bellhop," led them to a spiritual
crisis when God "let us be destroyed by the Nazis." With this view of
God, the Holocaust showed that there was no such God, and so our people
bought into the God of the West-or what I describe in my book The Left
Hand of God as "the power over others and domination view" of human
reality, abandoning the strong matriarchal element in our culture that
had affirmed love, gentleness, generosity, caring for others as the key
to human life. This is what I call "The Right Hand conception of God"
or the worldview of fear and the worldview of domination.

Because so many of our people post-Holocaust have never been exposed
to a more sophisticated notion of who God, because the form of our
prayers and the way we are taught as children to think of God leads to
this impossible outcome that God "should have, but didn’t, intervene to
save us, so therefore either there is no God or God is evil or at best
irrelevant to us," the people grasped on to "being realistic" and
becoming like all the other idolators on the planet, worshipers of
power and money. The quintessence of that view became the dominant
philosophy among Orthodox Jews after 1967-"because the Israeli Defense
Forces" captured the West Bank, holding the West Bank is God’s will and
therefore it would be a violation of God’s will to abandon it. In other
words, whoever triumphs in the world reflects God’s will. The flip side
for the secularists who are the majority of Israelis: "There is no God,
all there is is power, and we have to wield it just as brutally as
those who once oppressed us, because global ethical standards of human
rights and respect for the other are all an unrealistic fantasy-the
world is governed by the powerful, that’s what is, that’s what always
will be, that’s the reality of the world that we cannot be expected to
change, so get off our backs with all that ethical crap and be
realistic, which is to say, lets us dominate as much as we want for as
long as we can." The other version of this I heard in the upper West
Side Manhattan orthodox shul in which I used to daven every morning at
6:30 a.m. with a group of young men in their thirties who were rushing
through the prayers before hopping onto the subway to get to their Wall
Street offices where they would indiscriminately amass more wealth for
the wealthy through corporations which were destroying the life support
systems of the planet and building guns and armaments for dictators or
wars around the world. A contradiction? No, they told me. "We’re just
being realistic-this is how the world is, and you either end up winning
or losing, so we’re going to be winner in it." Change that world to
make it more ethically and ecologically sane? "Ridiculous-it can be
done," they assured me. What about Torah injunctions? "They are not
about the real world of capital-they are for our private lives."

What do all of these perspectives have in common? They all reflect
the abandonment of God as the Power of Healing and Transformation
(YHVH) Who works through us, in Whose image we are created. They don’t
believe in Tikkun Olam (healing and transforming the world), but only
in Tikkun Atmi (personal healing and transformation). But without that
faith in the possibility of larger transformation, we Jews keep on
trying to rely on power over others, or alliances with the
powerful–and it never works out well for us or for the world.

So that’s what Tisha B’av,the Ninth of Av, is about–mourning the sad direction our people has gone in.

Sometimes the prophets are misunderstood as being filled with anger
and rage at this people for abandoning God. Taken out of context, one
can certainly read parts of Jeremiah and Isaiah that, and some of the
other prophets as well. What particularly moved me when I began to
study Jeremiah at age 12 on my own, and then with the assistance of my
gifted teacher Prof. Muffs at the Jewish Theological Seminary and my
mentor A.J. Heschel, was that these prophets were in agony over having
to deliver this hurtful and hard to hear message. They did not desire
to be hurting or condemning their own family of the Jewish people, but
they did so anyway because they saw so clearly how the behavior of the
people was leading to its own future destruction.

What is needed today also is to mix this message (of the
inevitability of the destruction of our people and the whole human race
unless we can move from the Right Hand of God to the Left Hand of God,
regain our understanding of the need to be "unrealistic" by embracing
the wisdom of women and the centrality of love, generosity, awe and
wonder at the universe, and ecological, peace, and social justice
perspectives on reality) with another message: the message of love and
compassion for our people, and for all peoples on the planet, for
having been so traumatized by our circumstances that we’ve been unable
to look reality in the face and realize that it must be changed or we
and our world will be destroyed (as the second paragraph of the Shma,
the Ve’hayah eem shamoe’ah, makes clear).

We’ve been so traumatized by reality that we want the fantasy
security that comes from imagining that the powerful elites really care
about us and will stick with us when they are needed. So our idolatry
as a people is the sad consequence of our oppression, not the cause of
that oppression. But then we act in ways that make our situation worse,
abandoning the Source of our Existence as a people-YHVH (God in la’az)
and all that S/He is and can be for us.

Such a people, in fact all the peoples of the world, need
desperately to be approached not only with ethical urgency, but also
psycho/spiritual compassion. The wounds of the people of the earth are
deep, and so the need to heal them is urgent. Unless that healing can
happen quickly the whole earth is in danger of environmental
destruction, a product of the enslavement we have to the idols of
endless expansion of goods, material progress as though the earth’s
resources were limitless, me-firstism, greed, lack of empathy for
others, belief that REALITY cannot be changed, that the world is
governed by force and by money and that that is all that can ever be. .
That this comes at the same time as the world mourns the destruction of
Hiroshima by atomic weapons is yet another way to bring up the same
message: these theological issues, far from being abstract, have
everything to do with saving the world. Without that transformation,
the world may yet be destroyed by atomic weapons even before the full
impact of our destructiveness to the life-support systems of the planet
reaches their height.

In my book Healing Israel/Palestine and in my book for all people,
The Left Hand of God, I present some of the steps we can take to make
this healing begin. A first step for those of us in the West is to
embrace the Global Marshall Plan and to work with the Network of
Spiritual Progressives (read about both at www.spiritualprogressives.org).
But that is not enough. We need urgently to develop a mass
psycho/spiritual process of healing our people and all peoples so that
we can look more squarely at the central truth of the universe: that
there is a God, YHVH, that we are not stuck,that the world can be
healed and transformed. This is the message of the High Holidays for
all Jews and for all people on the planet. And the purpose of Tisha
B’av (the ninth day of Av, commemorated this year on Saturday night,
August 9 and during the day Sunday August 10th) is to remind us that
the changes needed are not only personal and in our own consciousness,
but also collective and within our people and all people.

May all people be healed from our pain enough so that we could
re-embrace the Force of Healing and Transformation, the Force that
makes possible the transformation of the universe from "that which is"
to "that which ought to be," recognizing that our purpose on this
planet is to be partners with that Force in the Tikkun of the world.

Is the Universe (including life) a Purposeless Accident? Science of Purpose: Part 2

Accidents happen only in time. Most of us mistake the 4% visible
matter in the universe as the entire universe ignoring the 96% of the
invisible universe (dark energy and dark matter). Since time is a
relative property only of matter, no more than 4% of the universe could
be subject to time and possibly an accident; the rest majority 96% of
the universe is eternal existence beyond time and free from any
accidental uncertainties. Since time is a stubborn illusion (relative
reality of matter) from the universal point of view, the accidental
universe(s) is no more than an illusion of the materialistic mind or
ego.

The impotence of the mainstream science to show purpose to the
universe is merely an artifact of its very own and ignorant choice to
exclude spontaneity or consciousness from scientific investigations and
theories by prejudicially declaring that

Calculus and Nirvana

(I wrote this article specifically for the reader on Intent. I normally write on Drishtikone, when I am free.)

A young man once went to a blind Saint’s hut and knocked. The Saint from inside enquired – "Who is
it?". The young man – who had come looking for a Guru, replied "That is what I have come to know,
Sir". The Guru beckoned him.

That is probably the only question at the root of our existence and the basis of the spiritual quest itself.

Long before Newton and Leibniz discovered Calculus, some had already been using it – as a
discipline and as a guide on the path of their spiritual journey.

Notwithstanding the usual – and in my view a facetious – claim that all religions are paths that lead to spiritual
nirvana, the final point of "Zero-identity" or Infinite-existence can be approached through two simple
frameworks: – Getting to Zero – Getting to Infinity In essence, both are the same thing. If you are zero, then all
else is Infinite; and if you are Infinite, all else is zero.

Of course, there are is no real "movement", as it were, from "here" to "there", when
"there" being zero or infinity. For really speaking in this case, "there" does not
"exist" in any spatial dimension that the "here" we are accustomed to! So, our start of the
journey is clear. End is not. And therefore, there can be no path. For, in this peculiar journey – "there"
is everything, including the "here"!!

Calculus and the frameworks

Calculus had two broad frameworks – Differentiation and Integration. One is a way to reduce the most complete of
variables to a constant and then to zero! The other is to add on variability and include everything from
"here" to "there" (everything under the "curve")…. until that curve represents the
infinite. Similarly, Vedanta Rishis had approached the final stage of Nirvana.

Differentiation

Vivek – or "discrimination" as some analysts have called it – is the first framework. Unfortunately, Vivek
has rarely been interpreted in its proper context. It is often characterized as discriminating between the
"good" and the "bad". For Rishis who clearly saw the infinite and its completeness – this would
have been a rather strange characterization.

So, I contend that Vivek is NOT discrimination between "Good" and "Bad" – but differentiation of
the Variable/Relative to get to the Constant and then Zero, by asking that same question which the young man asked
his to-be Guru – "Who Am I?".

As Mooji explains very
beautifully here, you start by asking the question and trying to see if you can "observe" that phenomenon.
If you can, then it is NOT "You". My thoughts, My body, my pain, my happiness…. I can observe all that.
So that is NOT "it". Keep differentiating.

Somewhere along the journey you come to a stage where there is just the entity asking that question (Who Am I). From
here on the question changes – from Who Am I – the question becomes … "Who is asking – Whom Am I?".

And finally the entity that had been asking and "differentiating" through the variables… to reach to a
constant… is also done away with. At this point the questions and the constant vanish. There is complete
nothingness. From the approximation of Lt->0 (limit tending towards zero), the entity reaches the state of ZERO.

Rishis have called this stage as Nirvana and the approach as "Neti.. Neti". When Yajnavalka was asked by
his students "What is God?", he took them through a similar exercise of "differentiation"!

Integration

There was another approach that was taken and it was best demonstrated by Krishna in his famous message of Bhagwad
Gita. This was the framework of "Integration".

From looking at "Who Am I", Krishna took another route of "Who/What Am I
NOT?"
. He looked at all that fell "under the curve" of this entity called "I". And
continuous as that "function" was, he gave discrete points and markers of the "area under the
curve".

– Among all the bad habits – he was Gambling (the VERY cause of the War)

– Of the Haughty, he was their high ego (or Duryodhana – the VERY entity that Arjuna was fighting
"against")

– of the Strong, he was their strangth (or the very entity that Arjuna was fighting with and through)

So, he was the cause and the effect. He was the complete curve! The Highest form of Ego. He was the Infinite – that
which cannot be imagined and where there is NOTHING is "he was NOT"!

Conclusion

Both the frameworks (not paths) lead to the same stage – Zero and Infinity are the same points at their purest.

Russia – Georgia Confrontation | Global Implications

russia-georgia.jpg

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.

 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...