Sunday, April 19, 2020

We Are Here To Awaken

                                                                                             written 12 April 2020
                                                                                         published 19 April 2020

            Two of my favorite bumper stickers are "We are spiritual beings having a physical experience", and a Thich Nhat Hahn quote, "We are here to awaken from the illusion of separation".  Both point to the non-duality of reality.
            I am writing this Easter weekend, when Christians celebrate the transcendence of spirit over form.  This two-part event, crucifixion of form and resurrection of spirit, is symbolized by the cross and the empty tomb.  Christ taught non-duality.  His core message was "love God" and "love the other as self", the Golden Rule.  For humans caught in duality and the illusion of separation of form, these were instructions toward the experiencing of unity reality.  
            This was radical teaching then, and still is today, because Christ's teaching of non-duality was hijacked when the Roman Empire made Christianity the state religion.  The Bible was edited to support the goals of empire, and the Catholic Church chose the symbol of the cross of crucifixion exclusively, representing the old order of duality, domination, judgment, guilt and punishment.  Under that symbol, empires expanded across the globe, killing millions.  Our culture has also missed the essence of the Easter miracle; the truth of non-duality.
            An example is the recent column in the UDJ, by George Will, spokesman for the status quo of separation.  "...the recurring longing for escape from individualism includes a desire for immersive politics, whereby people infuse their lives with syntheticmeaning by enlisting in mass movements or collective efforts.  A great threat (such as the coronavirus) can infuse excitement into bourgeois dullness and can justify a flight into exciting collective undertakings.  Hence the thrill many people derived from being excoriated by a Swedish teenager for ... Earth's supposedlymortal peril late in the century (which) is still over the horizon (emphasis added)."  In a few short paragraphs, George Will celebrates the illusion of the autonomous individual, dismisses the validity of collective action, and denies science.  
            Contrast this to Bernie Sanders, spokesman for the paradigm of wholeness, in his speech ending his candidacy for president, recognizing the necessity of collective action.  "We now face an unprecedented crisis. Not only are we dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, which has taken the lives of many thousands of our people, we are also dealing with an economic meltdown that has resulted in the loss of millions of jobs.  Today, families all across the country face financial hardship unimaginable only a few months ago. And because of the unacceptable levels of income and wealth distribution in our economy, many have little or no savings and are desperately trying to pay their rent or their mortgage or even to put food on the table. Congress must address this unprecedented crisis in an unprecedented way that protects the health and economic well-being of the working families of our country, not just powerful special interests." 
            Today there are over 540,000 COVID19 cases in America, the most in the world.  We are only 4% of the world population, yet have 30% of the global cases.  This is the consequence of corrupt and incompetent national leadership, dedicated to exclusive gain during an inclusive peril.
            Trump has yet to mobilize coordinated action at the federal level, and testing is still inadequate, months into the crisis.  He has seized limited critical supplies and used them as party favors to states that genuflect sufficiently, canceled funding to the World Health Organization because they criticized him, and eliminated health care for millions.  Prioritizing the economy over health, Trump is pushing for a quick reopening of the economy despite medical advice to the contrary.
            One lone Republican congressman demanded an in-person House vote on the pandemic economic relief bill, putting all of congress at risk of infection.  Republican judges required Wisconsin to vote in person, risking the health of the entire electorate.  Republican legislatures have overturn shelter in place rules, defying governors and mayors, even as states without these rules are beginning to see cases spike.
            The long-term human addiction to the illusion of separation is coming to an end.  As a species, we face a simple choice; awaken or die.  The coronavirus is a rapid example of several global crises that require a unified, inclusive, global response if we are to enjoy a viable future.