Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Language of Primal Reality

The Language of Primal Reality

English is an extraordinary, but mysterious language.

It doesn't illuminate the psyche, like Sanskrit. It doesn't increase your bandwidth or expand your disk space, like German. It doesn't have the defiant beauty of French, or the aphrodisiac power of Spanish. It isn't, like Farsi, the very womb in which Poetry itself gestated. It doesn't possess the miraculous medicine of the countless languages lost in the great forests of this world.

And yet, if you are borne with the gift of how to whisper to this wild horse language, it will let you mount it, and then it will gallop away, bearing you off to high, wild places that a nameless legion have perished searching for in vain.

The English language is a paradox; at once, so rich and yet so bankrupt.

Consider three words, in particular: "Love," "God" and "Prayer." Three words, at once, so holy, and yet so hackneyed.

"Love"? Is there any word that has been so degraded, and yet still has such momentum?

At its worst, it is nothing more than a cheap, gaudy disguise for a spectrum of foolishness ranging from infatuation to projection to addiction; at its best its utterance encapsulates the tidal pull of all the planet's oceans in one syllable.

"God"? At its worst, its utterance is a deadly blow with a blunt instrument; at its best, its utterance is a sip of the speed beyond light and the space beyond infinity.

"Prayer"? At its worst, it is a spoiled brat cajoling an imaginary daddy; at its best, it is someone brave enough to stand in perfect alignment, at the edge of everything, asking for nothing.

-- Richard Power


Arthur Rackham: How at the Castle of Corbin a Maiden Bare in the Sangreal
and Foretold the Achievements of Galahad (1917)


We don't find the truth; the truth finds us.

Bodhicitta, bodhicitta.

We don't cultivate loving kindness and clarity of mind; loving kindness and clarity of mind cultivate us.

Om shanti, shanti, shanti.

We don't abide in the great peace; the great peace abides in us.

-- Richard Power

The Most Powerful Word in Our Vocabulary, and Yet the Most Debased

Edvard Munch - Night at St. Cloud (1890)

"Love" is at once both the most powerful word in our vocabulary, and yet the most debased.

Those who utter it from a place of ruthless self-discovery can reach into the deepest recesses of human need, assuming they are allowed in.

Those who utter it from a place of fear-based self-deception are simply repeating a debilitating pattern, no matter much shining gossamer they wrap it in.

Is there anyone more lost than "teachers" who have not learned the truth they are teaching, or "healers" who carry a hidden, untended wound within themselves?

-- Richard Power

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Crimes Against Humanity in Tibet, Crimes Against Reason in the USA and the EU; The Road Ends Just Up Ahead, Beyond It is A Yawning Chasm

Crimes Against Humanity in Tibet, Crimes Against Reason in the USA and the EU; The Road Ends Just Up Ahead, Beyond It is A Yawning Chasm

By Richard Power

Here are four more notes, scrawled at recent hash marks along the timeline; to sustain the context and continuity of the narrative.

At the Roof of the World

Although, in recent months, I have not written at length about China's program of cultural extermination and spiritual rape against the Tibetans, it is has been heavy on my heart and much on my mind.

China has detained large numbers of Tibetans for political re-education after they returned from a visit to India to listen to religious teachings, a leading rights group said. The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) quoted multiple sources as saying that since February 6, many recently-returned Tibetans had been detained in ad hoc centres in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, and other areas. Agence France Press, China detains Tibetans back from India, 2-17-12

By the time you read this post, Tibetan New Year 2012 will have come and gone. But instead of a time of celebration, February 22, 2012 was a time for profound inquiry into that crux of awareness, at which practice becomes prayer and prayer becomes practice.

Tibet's exiled government has called on Tibetans not to celebrate their new year - or Losar - which begins on Wednesday, and instead observe traditional and spiritual rituals for those who have died. “Tibetans would now be getting ready for parties, family get-togethers, lots of food and drink,” said Kate Saunders, spokeswoman for the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), which has exile sources with contacts on the ground. “But this year... Tibetans have decided not to celebrate but to honour those who have died, particularly through self-immolations, by offering prayers and paying solemn respect to the traditions of their culture.” At least 22 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in China over the past year in protest against perceived repressive Chinese rule. Marianne Barriaux, Less celebrations as Tibetans mark new year, Independent Online, 2-2-12

Emperors die, like all other mortals, and in the Bardo they meet all the good and ill they visited upon others. None of us escapes this reckoning; it is not superstition, it is physics.

Empires fall in the short span of centuries or millennia. But the truth has shone from before the first of the multi-myriad millions of stars, and will shine long after the last of those stars is extinguished.

And how will you know? You are that truth, and when there is nothing else left you will know.

The Birth Place of Western Civilization

Another story I have not said much about is the EU's fiscal crisis, and the predicament of Greece in particular.

Here are two enlightened perspectives, one from a global financier and the other from an Irish novelist; one espouses economic common sense, the other espouses economic justice.

You will hear neither of these enlightened perspectives amplified in the U.S. mainstream news media.

Soros: I admire Chancellor Merkel for her leadership qualities, but she is leading Europe in the wrong direction. To solve the euro crisis, I advocate a two-phase policy -- which is first austerity and structural reforms as Germany implemented them in 2005, but then also a stimulus program. If you do not provide more stimulus in Europe, you will push many European countries into a deflationary debt spiral. And that would be extremely dangerous.
Spiegel: Are the new austerity guidelines for countries like Spain, Italy or Greece too tough?
Soros: They create a vicious circle ... Markets do not correct their own excesses ... This is what the economist John Maynard Keynes explained to the world, except that he is not listened to by some people in Germany.
SPIEGEL Interview with George Soros:'Merkel Is Leading Europe in the Wrong Direction', 2-13-12

"The behaviour of the EU states towards Greece is inexplicable in the terms in which the EU defines itself. It is, first and foremost, a failure of solidarity ... In essence, this crisis is a failure of the EU states to show solidarity in the face of an onslaught from the financial markets ... This is the triumph of capitalism, that it has persuaded the world that capitalism is the world. It has led to the undoing of 200 years of struggle between ordinary people and the super-rich ... Now we see capitalism at its most triumphant. Greek police beat Greek people in order to impose the will of the banks and hedge funds. The EU member states, including Ireland, are the middleman, the quislings of capital. "William Wall, The Greek People Have Been Sacrificed to the Capitalist Gods of Speculation, Critical Legal Thinking (Ireland), 2-16-12

From Sea to Shining Sea

Meanwhile. here in the U.S.A., decades of relentless corporatist mind war has taken its toll on the psychological health and cognitive abilities of the electorate.

Extremists from Reagan to Ron Paul want you to forget two simple but important truths:

First, governments create markets, and that it is, indeed, government regulation that preserves the relative freedom of those markets. When governments abdicate responsibility for regulating those markets, they cease to be markets, and descend into a feast of predators feeding on the weak, until it all devolves into auto-cannibalism.

Second, in an advanced (i.e., industrialized and post-industrialized) economies organized, around the division of labor and capital (i.e., cities, industries, wage-workers, etc.), healthcare, education, unemployment insurance and retirement are fundamental human rights. Indeed, healthcare, education, unemployment insurance and retirement are what "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and "promoting the General Welfare" look like in an advanced economy.

It is quite common now to hear people say "Well, we just can't afford it." That is a lie; and it is no less a lie if you are lying to yourself.

If we acknowledged the true cost of fossil fuels, and moved beyond them into renewable green energies, if we acknowledged the profound danger of human overpopulation, and confronted it with global awareness, meaningful incentives and free reproductive services, if we were willing to move beyond the "cross of iron" President Eisenhower warned us of so eloquently, SIXTY YEARS ago, to re-think our approach to "security" and re-tool our means of achieving it, we could afford to deliver on these promises, and we would be living in a very different country, and leading humanity to a very different future.

But even without such bold, evolutionary strokes, we could deliver on these promises, and be living in a very different country, and leading the world to a very different future; simply by re-asserting economic principles based on the government's real obligations to not only protect the populace from physical attack, but also to regulate markets, tax wealth fairly, invest in infrastructure, provide stimulus as needed, and extend a social safety net.

The End of the Road

This road ends just up ahead, and beyond It is a yawning chasm.

Celebrated scientists and development thinkers today warn that civilisation is faced with a perfect storm of ecological and social problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption and environmentally malign technologies.
In the face of an "absolutely unprecedented emergency", say the 18 past winners of the Blue Planet prize – the unofficial Nobel for the environment – society has "no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilisation. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us".
John Vidal, Civilisation faces 'perfect storm of ecological and social problems', Guardian, 2-20-12

We are living in a time of tremendous challenges and extraordinary opportunities; best to find that crux of awareness, at which practice is prayer, and prayer is practice.

Humanity is putting its foot on the accelerator even though the world’s top scientists and governments have repeatedly explained we are headed over a cliff. The people who will suffer the most are people who have not contributed to this impending catastrophe — future generations and the poorest among us. This is such a colossally immoral and unethical act — collectively and in many cases individually — that most people, including the overwhelming majority of the so-called intelligentsia, simply choose to ignore it on a daily basis. That won’t save a livable climate, however, nor it will stop future generations from cursing our names. Joseph Romm, Crossing the Line as Civilization Implodes: Heartland Institute, Peter Gleick and Andrew Revkin, Nation of Change, 2-22-12

Briton Rivière - Persepolis (1878)

Do you know why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love? Go to for the answer.

Richard Power is the author of seven books, including Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself and True North on the Pathless Path: Towards a 21st Century Yoga. He writes and speaks on security, risk, human rights and sustainability, and has delivered executive briefings and led training in over 40 countries. He blogs at and

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 Election Notes: Fear & Loathing at the End of the Mayan Calendar

2012 Election Notes: Fear & Loathing at the End of the Mayan Calendar

By Richard Power

I would rather be writing to you about Darfur or Tibet, but there is little we can do about either if we succumb, so here is my first post from the 2012 campaign trail.

It is 2012 after all, and although the true Mayan elders tell us not to be afraid, and real science reminds us that pole shifts (and yes, we are in the midst of one), however disturbing, do not turn the tectonic plates upside down, I suggest you keep a close eye on what is happening in the U.S. body politic. Because doomsday, or something close to it, might sneak up on us - in November, at the ballot box.


I have been calling for MASSIVE, NON-VIOLENT EVOLUTION for some time now. What do I mean by "massive, non-violent evolution"? I say "non-violent," of course, because violence is a double-edged sword that wounds both the victor and the vanquished. I say "evolution" rather than "revolution" because there is a difference between awakening and stridency. "You can't take pliers and peel open a rose bud," a wise man once told me, "you have to let it bloom."

"Evolution" rather than "revolution" because each of our great revolutions (e.g., Haitian, U.S., French, Russian) carried within them both evolutionary content (which changed the collective psyche forever and for the good), but also the seeds of their own distress and potential demise. Am I saying that "revolution" is somehow wrong and "evolution" is right? No, just that there are circumstances that call for an evolutionary leap, and our current global dilemma is one of them. Within this "massive, non-violent evolution," there may be many revolutions (some tragically violent) flowing like rivers into the sea.

"Evolution" rather than "revolution" because throngs meditating are just as vital as throngs marching. (Preferably, throngs meditating as they march.) "Evolution" rather than "revolution" because anyone working in education, healing, the arts and sciences, and especially designing and delivering green energy is actively engaged in this "massive, non-violent evolution" IF they are doing so with a consciously altruistic attitude.

My vision of "massive, non-violent evolution" rests on two premises, one historical, the other spiritual: the historical premise is that both sides lost the Cold War, i.e., both economic models have failed humanity, and the spiritual premise is that all life is a oneness, i.e., whatever you do to another human being or to the web of life, you do to yourself.

In the algebra of this "massive, non-violent evolution," we are simply looking for the equivalent of the Hundredth Monkey. Impossible? Perhaps. But from Homer to Tolkein, our greatest sagas are organized around impossible quests. And even if this vision proves impossible, those who embrace it, and live it, will have transformed themselves in the process.


Meanwhile ...

Just as we are the only one of the great industrialized democracies that doesn't provide universal healthcare, we are also the only one that equates money with speech. We are in dire straits.

Voter suppression laws targeting the elderly, the young and the poor are being passed by Zombie state legislators and signed into law by Zombie governors. Furthermore, these Zombie state legislators and governors have also instituted union-breaking right to work for less laws in almost half of the states in this DISunion.

If there weren't a genuine progressive movement, and it hadn't saved the future before, and didn't threaten to do so again, why would there by such an organized death-eater effort to disembowel it?

That's why I tell you that partisan is a beautiful word, and encourage you to embrace it.

You can blow bubbles if you want to, and curl up inside of one those bubbles and float away in a pipe dream, but sooner or later that bubble will burst. Reality calls you to something higher, something deeper, i.e., clarity, courage and compassion engaged in the great struggle of THIS age. What we have in the U.S.A is not a petty battle between competing political ideologies, what we have here is a burgeoning human rights crisis.

Consider this headline:

More than 68% of New European Electricity Capacity Came From Wind and Solar in 2011 (Climate Progress, 2-12-12)

Yes, in the feast of ignorance that is the U.S. body politic, the Europeans are mocked, and progressive politicians are smeared as wanting to make us more like the Europeans. If only ...

Ah yes, "American Exceptionalism." Who would want universal health care, or to already be producing 68% of our electricity capacity from wind and solar? No, instead let's drag them into the grave we have dug for ourselves. Let's fetishize over a Thatcher doll (that looks and sounds like Meryl Streep) just as we have fetishized over our Reagan doll. Yes, worship the golden calf of the "free market." Except, of course, it isn't free, it's monopolistic and auto-cannibalistic, and it isn't made of gold, it's made of dwindling fossil fuels and worthless derivatives.

Dire Consequences

Yes, elections have consequences. Dire consequences.

Consider this story:

A new NASA study underscores the fact that greenhouse gases generated by human activity — not changes in solar activity — are the primary force driving global warming. The study offers an updated calculation of the Earth’s energy imbalance, the difference between the amount of solar energy absorbed by Earth’s surface and the amount returned to space as heat. The researchers’ calculations show that, despite unusually low solar activity between 2005 and 2010, the planet continued to absorb more energy than it returned to space. Joe Romm, Climate Progress, 2-5-12

This recently released study would NOT have seen the light of day if the Zombie Cult formerly known as the Republican Party had control of the White House. If you don't vote against their madness, you are voting against not only against science but against the planet itself.

Elections have consequences. Dire consequences.

What’s an anti-science politician to do when even a Koch-funded researcher says that human activity is causing global warming? Well, you could just stop all scientific endeavors in the field all together. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday, Colorado Republican Congressman Cory Gardner explained to attendees that was just what his party was determined to do. When a questioner asked how Republicans can stop taxpayer dollars going to climate research and other programs to reduce carbon emissions, the panelists chuckled. Then Rep. Gardner answered the question, explaining that many GOP leaders are committed to “get that money out that’s been feeding the industry.” Stephen Lacy, Congressman Says Defunding Climate Science is a Priority for GOP, Climate Progress, 2-10-12

Elections have consequences. Dire consequences. At every level of government.

If you don't against this madness, you are voting for it.

There are six bills aimed at undermining the teaching of evolution before state legislatures this year: two each in New Hampshire and Missouri, one each in Indiana and Oklahoma. And it's only February.

Elections have consequences. Dire consequences. And these dire consequences will impact much that you take for granted.

When the Clean Water Act was enacted, the Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it literally caught fire, the majestic Hudson River’s fishery was gone and Lake Erie was declared all but dead. This bold legislation put forward by visionaries in Congress returned control of our nation’s waterways to the citizens of the United States as part of the public trust. However, today the concept of the public trust, the commons, is being quickly eroded by corporate polluters and their cronies in Congress who are determined to return to the era of using out nation’s waterways as open sewers, toxic dumps and landfills. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Clean Water Safeguards Headed Down the Drain?, EcoWatch, 1-23-12

Elections have consequences. Dire consequences.

As we celebrate the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that recognized a woman's constitutional right to legal abortion, we can't forget how many times women's lives have been put at risk in the past year. Legislators in 24 states passed 92 anti-abortion provisions in 2011, shattering the previous record of 34 adopted in 2005, according to the Guttmacher Institute ... Reproductive health care is not for some women; it is a fundamental right of all women. We will not let anti-choice groups destroy what we worked so hard for. On this anniversary, and with 289 days left until Election Day 2012, NOW pledges to work tirelessly to elect officials who will support women's access to the full range of reproductive health care services, and defeat those who don't. Terry O'Neill, President of National Organization of Women, NO.W., 1-22-12

The Zombie Cult is anti-reason, anti-nature, anti-science and anti-women; one leads into the other in a heavy chain of horrific ignorance. They don't use brains, they eat them.

John Wayne Gacy, the Hollow Men, & A Handmaid's Tale

If you are tempted to dismiss Gingrich as a clown; just remember that John Wayne Gacy too was a clown. If you are tempted to dismiss Romney as one of T.S. Eliot's Hollow Men (I confess I hear it whispered between the lines whenever I hear him speak), and as someone who could not possibly be elected president, just remember that many of histories most ghastly episodes were presided over by similarly hollow men. And Santorum? Well, it is as if he escaped from the pages of Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale. Former Senator Santorum often speaks of irresponsible behavior in his jihad against women's reproductive rights. (Mic check! Mic check! Having seven children, having seven children, in overpopulated world, in an overpopulated world, and denying the reality, and denying the reality, of Climate Change, of Climate Change, THAT, THAT, is irresponsible behavior, is irresponsible behavior, former Sen. Santorum, former Sen. Santorum.)

If you are tempted to think that there is no difference between Obama and any of these would-be Zombie nominees, remember that the shell of a man formerly known as Ralph Nader told you there was no difference between Bush and Gore in 2000. It was a lie then, and it is a lie now. And it is no less of a lie if you are lying to yourself.

Of course, whether or not it is enough of a difference for us to overcome the challenges that we confront is another question. And frankly, no, based on Obama's performance in office, it is not enough of a difference, but it is enough difference to allow for another opportunity to change direction before the utter end of it all.

If the Zombie cult formerly known as the Republican Party succeeds in winning control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, we will ALL choke on YOUR self-delusion that there is no difference between the two major political parties, and there will be no opportunity to change direction.

POTUS Looks Best Defined by Who His Enemies Are

If you know me or my writings than you know I am profoundly at odds with POTUS on major economic, environmental and geopolitical issues; nevertheless, as we approach 2012, I urge you to remember that one VERY important element that goes into defining a man is the make-up of those who seek to destroy him. Consider POTUS' enemies. Arrayed as they are against him, in all their ugliness, they add a different dimension to the decision before us.

In a surprising move over the weekend, thousands of Catholic parishioners were read letters that condemn the Obama administration and its recent decision to make birth control available to women through virtually all private health insurance plans. The letters were written by Catholic Bishops in the U.S. and read aloud at hundreds of Catholic churches on Sunday. Raw Story, 1-30-12

So let me get this straight, a very powerful, very wealthy, very secretive, very patriarchal organization, which cannot seem to protect its school children from the pedophiles in its ranks, and yet seems to hide away the pedophiles instead of turning them over to law enforcement; this very powerful, very wealthy, very secretive, very patriarchal organization wants to meddle in the reproductive rights of women?

Yes, POTUS appears to have outmaneuvered them in this particular test of wills, but the exercise should serve as a warning.

Remember, "Partisan" is a beautiful word, a powerful word; reclaim it, embrace it, own it.

Self-deprecating, too liberal for their own good, today's progressives stand back and watch, hands over their mouths, as the social vivisectionists of the right slice up a living society to see if its component parts can survive in isolation. Tied up in knots of reticence and self-doubt, they will not shout stop ... we have been too polite to mention the Canadian study published last month in the journal Psychological Science, which revealed that people with conservative beliefs are likely to be of low intelligence. Paradoxically it was the Daily Mail that brought it to the attention of British readers last week. It feels crude, illiberal to point out that the other side is, on average, more stupid than our own. But this, the study suggests, is not unfounded generalization but empirical fact. George Monbiot, The Right's Stupidity Spreads, Enabled by a Too-Polite Left, Guardian, 2-7-12

It's Probably Only Going to Get Worse for Awhile

Meanwhile, it is likely that the looming dangers are going to intensify. Consider two more of the elephants crammed into this room.

If Israel really attacks Iran this year, it – and the Americans – will be more dotty than their enemies think. True, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a crackpot, but then so is Avigdor Lieberman, who is apparently the Israeli Foreign Minister ... Robert Fisk, An attack on Tehran would be madness. So don't rule it out, Independent, 2-4-11

If we could see the world with a particularly illuminating set of spectacles, one of its most prominent features at the moment would be a giant carbon bubble, whose bursting someday will make the housing bubble of 2007 look like a lark. As yet -- as we shall see -- it’s unfortunately largely invisible to us ... Bill McKibben, The Great Carbon Bubble: Why the Fossil Fuel Industry Fights So Hard, Tom Dispatch, 2-7-12

Do you know why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love? Go to for the answer.

Richard Power is the author of seven books, including Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself and True North on the Pathless Path: Towards a 21st Century Yoga. He writes and speaks on security, risk, human rights and sustainability, and has delivered executive briefings and led training in over 40 countries. He blogs at and

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Every Twist in the Plot of Life

Cave bear (Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller, 1794) Skull. Stage: 370 000 - 10 000 Years Pleistocene. Locality: Yamalo-Nenetsky region, Siberia, Russia. Size of skull: 57 cm

When someone cannot live the truth they have come into contact with, they turn away from it, and then come into contact with it somewhere else, imagining they have heard something new, or met someone greater, until the pattern repeats itself again, and again.

And so it goes ... The truth of a thousand years ago is the truth of tomorrow, the love of a millennia ago is the love of today ...

Every breath is the divine embrace, every moment is revelation, every twist in the plot of life is an invitation to brilliance and courage ...

-- Richard Power

What Is Really Here

Leonora Carrington - Fisher King

If you are in a hurry, you might miss this place; which would be unfortunate, because you can't get to where you want to go without passing through it.

If you have some mental image of what you are searching for, you might overlook this moment; which would be unfortunate, because what you are looking for is already here.

If you are bound up in your projection of what you imagine to be over THERE, you might not be able to feel what is really HERE, which would be unfortunate, because it is the reality of all there is and all you are.

Whether you flee intimacy with a human lover, or with THE divine lover, it is the same; there are a hundred thousand reasons to carry with you, but not a drop of water or a bite of nourishment in any of them.

-- Richard Power

No Holy Books

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Beata Beatrix (1863)

No holy book has ever redeemed or enlightened anyone; occasionally, someone will however redeem one of the holy books, with the power of an awakened mind, with the power of an illuminated heart, with the power of a liberated body, but only by their own magnetism and for the span of that person's influence.

In and of themselves, the holy books are dead letters. They can be wielded as blunt instruments, with which to do harm, they can be used as drugs, with which to manipulate others and gain power for oneself, they can be used as camouflage, with which to hide from oneself and others who might offer real intimacy.

Love's revelation dwells within the temple of one's own being, and within the greater temple of Nature Herself, not in the dead letters of any holy book, or within any system spun from it.

Revelation can be pooled collectively, and poured out, but only in the now, and only from one's own experience, and no one can partake of it unless they pour it forth.

-- Richard Power


Edvard Munch - Night in St. Cloud (1890)

Grateful for the vast, deep night that stretches beyond space, and then folds back in on itself, like the jet black wings of a raven.

Exquisitely silent. Echoing the future, erasing the past. A whispered secret to the awakened one, a lullaby to the dreamer.

Oceanic night. Undulating within the shadows of the psyche, like some nameless Salome, barefoot in the ruins of a lost world. Blessed. Night.

-- Richard Power