Jolie-Pitt and Hard Decisions

So here’s a conundrum…

If you were a major celebrity powerhouse, what price would you put on your children’s privacy? And if that price resulted in a huge contribution to a charity – say – for $11 million dollars – does that make it OK?

Such were the choices facing the Jolie-Pitt duo about photos of their new offspring Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline. Obviously it didn’t keep them awake for too long having decided to sell to an unnamed American publication the much-touted baby snaps for a cool $11 million.

I like to think I’d just not go there. But for charity? Is it worth it? Is that a reasonable trade-off? I guess they assume the press will get photos of the wee ones soon enough, why not make some moolah out of it and do some good?

What say you?

Porschla Coleman: A True Inspiration

A little over a year ago, I met a very sweet and beautiful girl at a party for my book, Do You! in Atlanta. We talked at length about our vegan diets and common interest in yoga. She, too, was feeling the shift that is happening in America right now of people looking inward. We are both excited and energized by this consciousness. We found that we share a common belief that without our yoga practice, we would not be the people we are today. As our relationship deepened, so did her interest in the science of yoga. Our daily morning ritual of meditation and afternoon classes of yoga fueled her passion to take her practice even further. Eventually, she decided to pursue a high certification of yoga that would, after ten months of vigorous training and one month of living in seclusion, license her as a teacher of Jivamukti Yoga. It has been inspiring to see her work so hard towards such an impressive goal. Her name is Porschla Coleman.

It has been an honor to watch her commit to memory the content of some of my favorite books such as The Yoga Sutras, The Bhagavad-Gita ; The Song of G-d, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Textbook of Yoga Psychology and Jivamukti Yoga (Practices for Liberating Body and Soul), Autobiography of a Yogi, Diet for a New America and more.

Her training included a month away from home where she committed to study for eighteen hours a day. While away, she studied anatomy, the holy language of Sanskrit, and of course learned how to teach asana (the physical practice of yoga).

Porschla’s education came through a scholarship that I initiated with the Jivamukti Yoga Center years ago. The scholarship was created to provide certification opportunities for women of color, since there were literally no such women in America certified in this science. I believe that each of us can change the world one investment at a time.

Sadly, many times we fund philanthropic and social initiates and never see the result. What a joy it is, through this program, to see how new teachers can create such positive change. I hope to see the continued results of this program, and other similar efforts, utilized in communities around the globe. I have long been concerned about the way Americans, especially African Americans, eat and exercise (certified Jivamukti teachers eat a vegan diet). But first and foremost, I believe the true gift of the practice of yoga is to speed up one’s evolution towards the calm state that is promised to each of us in almost all religious and spiritual scripture.

Today, Porschla told me she is working on doing a program with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater which is truly a fantastic step.

Finally, my dream for everyone is to realize a state of yoga, or Samadhi- which is the same state Christians refer to as “heaven on Earth”.

With help from superstars such as Oprah Winfrey promoting brilliant authors like Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra, I feel very hopeful about the future of the world right now. There seems to be a swell of new authors writing many new books on consciousness – even Arianna Huffington and myself have written best selling books on the subject. Many new seeds are being planted by new authors and teachers coming into their own every day. Who knows what new gifts are set to bloom.

Congratulations Porschla and thank you for the inspiration.

Obama Funding the Churches – A religious critique

Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s commitment to continue and expand church-based funding is not that it will end up undermining church/state separation or that it will aid in indoctrinating innocents into Christianity. Obama’s administration is likely to take strong steps to avoid those slippery slopes.

But what church-based programs do is to distract attention from why New and Fair Deal and Great Society programs keep on proving less effective than churches in dealing with many dimensions of human needs.

Liberal programs are shaped around a conception of what is important in human life that emphasizes economic needs and political rights. I’m a liberal, and support those programs. And they’ve proved very effective when it comes to delivering “objective” caring-the elimination of discrimination, leveling the playing field for competition in the public arena (at least among middle class people, arguably less effectively between middle class and upper income people or corporations), and delivering badly needed economic supports for the poor. Liberals rightly argue that their programs are would be far more effective were they adequately funded, and that could happen if many people who today oppose taxes for social programs were to recognize the degree to which they, their parents and grandparents were themselves the beneficiaries of this kind of caring.

What liberals miss is that their government programs often lack any interest in fostering “subjective caring”-the experience of being cared for and about by those who deliver “objective caring.” Over the course of the past 70 years, many people have come into contact with government employees (e.g. in the post office, the DMV, zoning and permit offices, INS, IRS, welfare and unemployment agencies,) where subjective caring is rather scarce. People often leave these encounters angry that their taxes are paying the salaries of disrespectful or emotionally deadened government employees whose one dimensional following of the rules often ignores the subtleties of human life. These encounters leave many people open to the “downsize government” strategy of the political Right.

Why not evaluate government programs and employees not only by their efficiency in delivering objective caring, but in how effective they are in conveying to the public the notion that government employees are there in part to provide a public manifestation of the caring and generosity that our neighbors feel for each other, but cannot do personally, and hence have agreed to fund programs that will show that caring?

The answers liberals give is that there is no “objective” way to measure caring, generosity, love, sensitivity to the needs of others-and hence that these are “soft” or “merely subjective” values that should be kept out of the public sphere. But this notion that anything of value must be capable of “objective measurement” is a prejudice closely associated with the scientism that leads many liberals to deride religion or other forms of spiritual consciousness. When I personally worked as a psychotherapist for poor people at a county health clinic, I found that the surround of bureaucratic regulations and focus on “productivity” quickly deadened the sensitivities of many of my co-workers, the brightest of whom quickly left government service.

What I found in my subsequent research as a psychologist is that many Americans are suffering by virtue of living in a society based on a “bottom line” of money and power, a bottom line that then generates narcissism, selfishness and materialism. There is a deep hunger for a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives, and for a sense of connection to others, and the major place that these needs are addressed is in their religious or spiritual communities.

I also observed that many people suffering from alcohol or drug abuse, a propensity for violence or crime, family breakdown, and other forms of distress find that the secular government-funded programs are afraid or actually feel legally banned from addressing these “meaning needs.” It is only when those in need of help turn toward religious-based programs or the spirituality fostered in 12-step programs that they actually encounter people who understand the deepest level of their needs and can address them.

There is no “objective” reason why these needs could not be addressed in government-funded secular programs or by the government itself. Instead of funding churches and worrying about possible indoctrination, it would make more sense to recast government programs and our public education systems so that they were required to see others as “successful” not just as maximizers of material self-interest and gratifications, but as meaning- and love-oriented beings whose meaning needs could be addressed without invoking any particular religious tradition.

Senator Obama should be seeking to have government programs and employees be judged effective in part by the degree to which they speak to these “meaning” needs and convey genuine caring and love. Far from being a slippery slope toward breaking separation of church and state, this direction is the most effective way to head off the assault on government that gains many enthusiasts from among those who have experienced government programs as missing the key elements of their humanity.

Letting Go

Ever read Richard Bach? One of my favorite authors. He is one of those people that ‘got it’ way before most even knew what ‘getting it’ was. ;) Was just surfing the net and came across this gem. Wanted to share:

————————————
Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river.

The current of the river swept silently over them all – young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks at the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.

But one creature said at last, ‘I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.’

The other creatures laughed and said, ‘Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you shall die quicker than boredom!’

But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.

And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, ‘See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!’

And the one carried in the current said, ‘I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.’

But they cried the more, ‘Saviour!’ all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Saviour.
—————————————-

How profound is this? Especially after reading and listening to Abraham for so long- I can appreciate this little story even more. Abraham teaches there is only a stream of well-being that flows. No source of darkness or evil, only a source of light- and what determines whether or not our lives are blissfull or less than desirable is whether we are resisting or allowing that stream to flow.

I was listening to the CD that came in the back of Ester, Jerry, and Abraham’s latest, “The Astonishing Power of Emotions”- and they described how even before we came into our physical bodies, that stream was already flowing. That stream of well-being is so dominant, that anything we do in this one lifetime that could be considered detrimental really is not that bad at all– all it is is a temporary resistance of the stream- and the moment we let go- we see improvement in our lives (and we feel a lot of relief- that goes hand in hand).

Abraham also uses ‘upstream and downstream’ analogies- saying our emotional response is given to us in response to our thoughts on any given subject. They say our first priority should be finding relief and feeling good- as that is an indicator we are going with this stream of well-being, while any form of negative emotion is our indication that we are resisting the stream. They also note that everything we want is downstream- while nothing we want is ever upstream.

Beautiful stuff. :)

Car Crash

Dear Friends, It is humbling to come close to death or permanent disability and one is thankful to Providence for saving all lives. My family and I have been involved in an 8 car pile up on a motorway (freeway) today near London, England, and it turns out that at 70+mph an argument began in the car way in front between a couple… and a few minutes later we were all involved in it… is nothing private in an interconnected world…

… at that high speed, one of the passengers decided to open their door and walk out of the row with their partner… the consequence was a massive pile up on the motorway…

Our car stopped completely as car number seven with plenty of distance in front… before we were hit by car number eight from behind… which then caused us to go and hit car number six… the domino effect which began with the rowing couple’s car wrote off almost all the cars one by one and whilst all this was happening it seemed like a film… Just a few minutes back we were all fine and driving safely and securely with plenty of distance between ourselves and the cars in front and behind… A few minutes later, chaos and carnage as several people had to be taken by ambulance to hospital and there was a complete standstill of the traffic with a jam going back miles as the motorway was shut down…

We are all in a state of shock… and yet thankful to the Supra Universal Consciousness for having saved our lives. The minor pains are bearable for the moment as the family members are still coming to terms with being alive and in one piece … but the only common thread is the intense love one feels for every one in the car in the moments immediately after the accident when one is not sure who is hurt where and exactly how long we will live… one second, one minute, one hour…. who knows? After checking that all in our car were reasonably fine, the focus shifted to the cars in front and behind… The mother in front with two children was in severe pain… the daughters were crying… the paramedics were on the scene within minutes… as were the police… The Frenchman and his colleague behind were also in need of medical attention as his hand had gone and hit the windscreen and smashed it… His colleagues hand was badly swollen having taken the brunt of the impact via the steering wheel…

Love… though… a common bond… all strangers… we came together quickly… and began to help each other as the police and emergency services made their way… That is an essence worth bearing in mind… as one plans for the next umpteen years… and best not to have a row in the car and decide to walk out of it at 70+mph car on a motorway… others pay the price… including ourselves on this occasion… There is something about humanity in this anecdote… still trying to figure it out… in the meantime… love is the answer!

[ENDS]

With love and warm wishes to you and family

DK with family

DK Matai

The Philanthropia, mi2g.net

DK’s online community participation includes:

Open ATCA, IntentBlog, Holistic Quantum Relativity Group, LinkedIn, Facebook, Ecademy, Xing, Spock, A&B Blog and QDOS. [Profile in pdf]

The Song Within

How many of us are using our God-given gifts? I think Henry David Thoreau said it best: "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." I pray that will not be the case for you, dear readers, or for me.

I have a family friend I’ve known all of my life. We consider ourselves "cousins," and even passed for sisters when we were younger. I was around 12-years-old the first time I heard Maiysha sing. I sat in the backseat of her mother’s car, when an incredible voice cascaded from the passenger seat, drowning out the sound of Anita Baker on the radio. I listened in awe. Is this an angel I am hearing? I knew then that Maiysha had God-given talent. No grown-up had to tell me that!

 

Maiysha and I haven’t been the best at keeping in touch, but I do know she’s been successful at everything she’s pursued. Her star is very bright. In late May, I was excited to learn she had a forthcoming debut album, scheduled for release on August 26, 2008. I am proud of Maiysha, and I join the chorus of folks who know and love her when I say, "Go’on, girl!" To hear her music or read more about this amazing talent, go to her MySpace page. I am listening to the single "Wanna Be" now and I love it! If you think she sounds good on the computer, just wait until you hear her pipes in person! God has blessed her with a beautiful voice, this much is true.

When other people pursue their dreams, it is so inspiring and gratifying! It’s like watching the birth of a superhero. You get so much joy out of seeing them realize their superpowers. You begin to think maybe you can fly, too. I can’t purport to know exactly what my God-given gifts are, but I know I don’t want to go to the grave with the song still in me.

Your PsychoEnergetic Inheritance

Do you have family patterns that defy repeated attempts to transform them?

Along with our DNA, physical traits, and modeled behaviors, each of us receives a psychoenergetic inheritance from our parents and ancestors. Embedded in this inheritance are deeply engraved patterns that impact our current health, relationships, finances, family issues and lives.

In this regular column, I

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