The political thing no one wants to hear

“You can only protest effectively when you love the person whose ideas you are protesting against as much as you love yourself.” (Baba Ram Dass)

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18 thoughts on “The political thing no one wants to hear

  1. That may take one life 10 lives 10 million lives or just 10 seconds that’s possible too . How do you know that you have awakened this purification? The first sign of contentment . Yogi Swatmarama Gary Lets all get together before you leave on your next adventure . Xox Terry & Neil

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    • Hi Terry and Neil. Thanks for the fine reflections — yes, like so many things, it could take ten seconds or 10 million lives — but meanwhile we have some good guidelines from Baba Ram Dass et al! I will be in town only on Tuesday and possible Wednesday morning. Will you be around? Email me if so!

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  2. I saw Ram Dass interviewed a while back. His stroke seriously impaired him, but as I recall, he reflected that he has been happier since then because now he really has time to observe and reflect.

    I am having difficulty envisioning the kind of protest he describes. Did Martin Luther King and John Lewis love their oppressors? Forgive? Probably. Understand? Very possibly. But love? And Mandela? Same question. Can anyone protesting the people who put babies in cages and open the gates to genocidal acts feel love for those they’re protesting against?
    What am I missing here, Gary?

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    • When Mandela entered the prison on Robben Island, his white guards were predictably brutal, and yet he never gave up on them; he engaged them, believing that “our occupation of the moral high ground could make it possible for us to turn some of the warders round,” and as years passed he won many of them over into “appreciating our cause,” and several of those guards became allies and attended his first inauguration. (Anthony Simpson’s biography, 214, 275, Part II). And how, Gandhi asked, could he be angry with his colonial oppressors when “I know that they sincerely believe that what they are doing today is right” (Autobiog, 166). Gandhi’s bottom line is that “it is quite proper to resist and attack a system” but one should never “attack its author” (242).

      I think both had found Ram Dass’s truth – that beneath vicious action is generally a confused or mangled soul. Fight for what you know is right, fight against those who wreak havoc on humanity, lock them up if you have to, but don’t give up on the spiritual imperative to help those who are most morally fallen – from people on death row to the politicians whose actions you find vicious. I believe Martin Luther King had reached the same transcendental space of love. In contrast to today’s woke crowd, who all-too-enthusiastically reduce people to “enemies” and “racists,” King saw white people as much more than just racists and was ultimately much more optimistic about America’s founding principles and about the American people — including white people.

      This is all hard to see as we duke it out at street level, but these spiritual masters were able to view it from a million miles above, from the perspective of unlimited compassion, viewing themselves below fighting the good fight in the trenches, and viewing their opponents and all others in the same light.

      I’m sticking with Baba Ram Dass on this one 😊

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      • I thank you, Gary. I practice mindfulness meditation, and an important aspect of that is loving kindness: “May you/I/we be filled with loving kindness.” I have often in my blog posts sought common ground. I do try very hard to walk in the other person’s shoes, so I don’t rail against the folks at the hate-filled rallies with the vehemence of most people I know. But I am a long way from loving those in power whose cruelty and/or indifference is damaging so many individuals and our society/world.
        I shall try to dig deeper—without faulting myself If I fail. The Ram Dass bar is exceedingly high for us mere mortals.

        On a lighter note, you have shown me that one can make a provocative and valuable blog post with a single pithy, well-chosen quotation.

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          • After watching last night’s debates, which ended with the obligatory “Yes; we all need to work with/care for all Americans,” I’ve been thinking more about this exchange between us. Would you be all right with my working it into a post for my blog–beginning with the debates and moving on to your title and the Ram Dass quote, and then to our discussion? I’d really like to see how my readers respond.

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            • Sure, Annie, quote us directly, indirectly, or any which way. I’d be flattered 🙂 (As I had no access to CNN last night, I will trust you on the ending … and assume that by “all Americans” they mean “ALL Americans” [i.e., including Trump voters and other dissenters from their home party].)

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              • Well, they made it sound like they meant ALL Americans; I’ll try to get some solid evidence.

                I’ll identify you as the blogger Daedalus Lex; shall I also use your person name? And while I’m asking, though I have some idea, what—pray tell—is the inspiration/significance of “shake my head hollow”?

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                • Now I thought SMHH was attributable to your philosophical musings: after some intellectual heavy lifting, there would be the need to shake one’s head hollow to make room for the next round…

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