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Independence Day-1: First, Free ALL the People...Beginning withIN ourselves...

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

The beginning of our an INSIDE-out awakening...We must first become aware of our OWN fears, bigotry, hatred...and allow it to be healed...

This is NOT just an American problem...but worldwide...

Our Guides on this journey...


If any of this resonates with you or simply awakens your curiosity, please let me know and I can refer you to some Long Island groups that are working collaboratively to foster our INTER-DEPENDENCE...

Dalai Lama XIV


Liberty Enlightening the World by Arya Badiyan, 2020.

"The figure in the foreground restores the original intention behind the Statue of Liberty symbolizing the emancipation of the slaves,” Arya says. “The background is symbolic. The pillars are evocative of the lynching memorial in Alabama. The crowd represents the millions of black lives that have been tragically taken over hundreds of years as this country has failed to be a haven of liberty. It is also a reminder that they are still with us, a veritable army ready to help establish liberty and justice for all.”

[from this article - it begins with these statements...refer to the article for links to other helpful information]

History can be a tricky business. I mean, we all go to school and learn so much about the history of our country, and the history of our world. We are tested on this information and taught that it is factual. What happens when you learn that what you have been taught is not the truth, but a narrative that makes one group of people look good while condemning another group of people? If you look at the history of race in America, you will find this to be the case over and over and over again.

The Baha’i writings tell us that “Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues.” Baha’u’llah the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith stated:

Trustworthiness is the greatest portal leading unto the tranquility and security of the people. In truth the stability of every affair hath depended and doth depend upon it. All the domains of power, of grandeur and of wealth are illumined by its light.

We must tell the truth — our very stability as a society depends upon it. We must right the wrongs of history, we must take a stand for all that is right, and today we will start with learning the history of Juneteenth and Lady Liberty!

June 19 is Juneteenth, which African American communities celebrate as their Independence Day. I’m sure some of you are saying, “But I was taught that slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.” Although that is historically true, many ignored the law and continued the institution of slavery.

Also from this article...

Juneteenth by Arya Badiyan, 2020.

[to continue, refer to the above link]


[from this article about the May 2022 attack on a grocery store in Buffalo killing 10 and wounding 3. Of the 13 victims, 11 were Black.]

An online manifesto attributed to (the perpetrator) explains that the attack was spurred by the theory that a tide of immigrants is crowding out white populations in western countries. The manifesto also says that Jews are the real problem but that “they can be dealt with in time….”

How can we read the words of this proud anti-Semite, who just shot eleven Black people, and not recall Martin Niemoller’s lament, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist….” We know how it ends. Niemoller could distance himself from Hitler’s hate for only so long before he, too, was incarcerated in a concentration camp. He discovered just how intertwined his own fate was with the Jews and others whom Hitler sought to exterminate. In our own day, white supremacists and believers in the bogus “replacement theory” will target anyone they deem as “other” and they’ll do it “in time.”

This week, we read in the Torah about God’s call for a jubilee (yovel, in Hebrew) – a reboot of the social order and a release from indebtedness and servitude. The yovel reminded our ancestors that the lives of all Israelites were intertwined, that all of Israel was responsible for one another. The same must be said of all humankind: all lives are intertwined, we are all responsible for one another. In this spirit, I ask each of us to explore ways in which we can build relationships with people who are different from ourselves – whether that’s joining them in their social justice efforts or inviting them to support our work for social justice. There’s more than one right way to increase love in the world. Find one that works for you.

May we live to see the day when hatred ceases, guns go quiet, and all of us are truly free.

Please let me know if you are interested in checking out local groups of people trying to life life in harmony. Eileen and I are part of several.


She states that when undertaking this work, COURAGE is essential...Fear motivates most of the cruelties in our world...She extends the scope of this effort to all groups of people oppressed for ANY reason...

Maya was a friend of Dr. King. In this video, she mentions that he and Malcolm X both had good senses of humor. I really liked when she says, "I never trust people who don't laugh..."


"War is not the answer...Only love can conquer hate..."

Now, let's place these dreams of a better world into our own hearts, let them GROW and then move them around our shared world...

Bob & Woody

The answer, my friend is HANGING in the wind...

[from this article]

On June 15, 1920, residents of Duluth, Minnesota lynched three African-American circus workers: Isaac McGhie, Elias Clayton and Elmer Jackson. An 8-year-old child named Abraham Zimmerman lived in Duluth at the time. And he grew up to have a son named Robert, who would later become famous with the name Bob Dylan. So, the lynching that Zimmerman witnessed eventually played a role in what American Songwriter has called Dylan’s sixth greatest song of all time.

Abe Zimmerman reportedly taught his son about the lynching. The lesson was similar to the way Woody Guthrie’s father told him about a lynching he had witnessed (that similarly inspired Guthrie to write an excellent song - see next 2 links). Zimmerman’s story of the lynching in Minnesota and its aftermath eventually provided the imagery for the opening of Dylan’s “Desolation Row.” [End of citations]

I selected this version because of the year and location- this city was a major locus of Dr. Martin Luther King's civil rights activities...

History Lesson: Before television and the internet, our stories were passed along by troubadours, wandering minstrels and folk singers...

And in academia - something only the wealthy could afford - history's stories were retold from the perspective of the ruling classes...

* but video continues blank until 08:00

--song was mentioned in earlier article on "Desolation Row".


As the events of the Birmingham Campaign intensified on the city’s streets, Martin Luther King, Jr., composed a letter from his prison cell in Birmingham in response to local religious leaders’ criticisms of the campaign: “Never before have I written so long a letter. I’m afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?” (King, Why, 94–95).

In Why We Can’t Wait, King recalled in an author’s note accompanying the letter’s republication how the letter was written. It was begun on pieces of newspaper, continued on bits of paper supplied by a black trustee, and finished on paper pads left by King’s attorneys. After countering the charge that he was an “outside agitator” in the body of the letter, King sought to explain the value of a “nonviolent campaign” and its “four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification (*); and direct action” (King, Why, 79). He went on to explain that the purpose of direct action was to create a crisis situation out of which negotiation could emerge.

The body of King’s letter called into question the clergy’s charge of “impatience” on the part of the African American community and of the “extreme” level of the campaign’s actions (“White Clergymen Urge”). “For years now, I have heard the word ‘Wait!’” King wrote. “This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never’” (King, Why, 83). He articulated the resentment felt “when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait” (King, Why, 84). King justified the tactic of civil disobedience by stating that, just as the Bible’s Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to obey Nebuchadnezzar’s unjust laws and colonists staged the Boston Tea Party, he refused to submit to laws and injunctions that were employed to uphold segregation and deny citizens their rights to peacefully assemble and protest.

King also decried the inaction of white moderates such as the clergymen, charging that human progress “comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation” (King, Why, 89). He prided himself as being among “extremists” such as Jesus, the prophet Amos, the apostle Paul, Martin Luther, and Abraham Lincoln, and observed that the country as a whole and the South in particular stood in need of creative men of extreme action. In closing, he hoped to meet the eight fellow clergymen who authored the first letter.

* [my adds] the same internal practice with which I began our adventure...the hero's journey WITHIN...

"America, America, you kill the prophets and stone those sent to you..." (Matt. 23:37)


Some food for our journey within...

In some circles, this in known as the "hero's" journey...It's at the heart of mythical tales of fear and courage..and the resulting transformation...

This is a review of Richard Rohr's book "YES, AND ...: DAILY MEDITATIONS"...

[from the article with my added emphases]

Rohr himself explains and justifies his hermeneutic in a short introduction, claiming with good reason that he is interpreting the Scriptures much as Jesus did himself. He notes, "Jesus consistently ignored or even denied exclusionary, punitive, and triumphalistic texts in his own Jewish Bible in favor of passages that emphasized inclusion, mercy, and honesty."

The seven underlying themes all evoke, and build upon, the central insight that "everything belongs" (the fourth theme, and title of Rohr's earlier book on contemplation). Plunging more deeply into their mysteries is not a spiritual luxury, as we quickly see, but a crucial challenge. Thus, the first theme cautions that experience is to be taken seriously, along with Scripture and tradition. This insight derails religion's tendency to blind dogmatism or fundamentalism, the source of so much havoc today.

Stemming from and leading to this, the third theme boldly proclaims that there is only one seamless reality, the luminous Ladder of Being (as Medieval mystics/theologians called it), in which the distinction between natural and supernatural, sacred and profane, is exposed as ultimately and radically false. Theologians as diverse as Henri de Lubac, Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar have all pointed out the problems with such dichotomies -- and got into trouble for it. Nonetheless, insistence on such spiritual schizophrenia has wrought inestimable damage on many levels, and only a narrow clericalism has any interest in maintaining it.

However central the previous insight, an even more critical one is the fifth: "The separate self is the problem, whereas most religion and most people make the shadow self the problem. This leads to denial, pretending, and projecting, instead of real transformation into the divine." Such clever diversion of attention perpetuates the reign of the ego: It feels superior by suppressing bodily passions, and meanwhile, in cruel isolation, seeks power, prestige and possessions, even within ecclesial life. As Rohr has noted, we have been "mortifying" the wrong thing for 2,000 years!

This brings us to the next startling realization: The way up is the way down. The sixth theme states: "Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines." Even this belongs! These are hard lessons, though many primitive initiation rites and contemporary addiction recovery programs have proven to understand it well. How could we, who worship a tortured man on a cross, miss this? The ego managed to turn even this icon into atonement and satisfaction theories.

So, if death is life, darkness light, and weakness strength, then the ultimate truth (and Rohr's seventh theme) is: "Reality is paradoxical and complementary. Non-dual thinking is the highest level of consciousness. Divine union, not private perfection, is the goal of all religion." This leads us full circle to the title of the current volume: Yes, and ...

Rohr's pungent insights are a bitter and soothing balm for our wounded souls and world. That they seem so strange, shocking and counterintuitive only proves how poorly we have understood our own tradition, and grievously deformed it. The loss of this contemplative eye, he suggests, is what created wars of religion, whereas "non-duality" is recognized more and more as the meeting point of all traditions. Whether we, and religion, can survive depends on our finally getting the message right.

[Michael K. Holleran is a priest of the New York archdiocese, a Zen sensei and a former Carthusian monk.]

Coming Meditations...

These were some initial ideas - none yet published:

4th of July: Make America GRATEFUL Again...From Shea to shining sea...

How many deaths will it take...? Only love and music can conquer hate...

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds - Episode 10

The Federation and the Romulans have been at war for over 100 years...Sadly, a familiar story line from our human history...

  • Romulus and Remus

  • Jacob and Esau wrestled from the womb

TO Russia with Love: Beatles

TO Russia with Love: Mick...or, the Devil Wears Pravda

TO Russia with Love: Dylan

TO Russia with Love: M...Boney M...

...Bond...James Bond...In London, Bond is called to a meeting with M...

Of Bulls and Bears...Or, Bears and Bulls...hit...

Who is this Devil...the other political party...the other religion...the other race...the other country...???


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