Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Truth and Beauty

Like truth, without us, beauty cannot spread her wings and soar.

Like truth, beauty vanishes from the world unless we share her.

Like truth, beauty does not exist unless we mirror her back to herself.

We are the threads that sustain truth and beauty; just as truth and beauty are the substances from which these threads are made.

"Truth is beauty, and beauty truth," Keats wrote in Ode to A Grecian Urn, "that is all ye know on Earth, and all you need to know."

Astonishingly Subtle, Yet Shockingly Ruthless

The journey of awakening.

Astonishingly subtle, yet shockingly ruthless; excruciatingly cold, yet exquisitely tender. It is both everything it is not, and nothing that it is.

Consider the consequences of two likely behavior patterns.


Blissing-out is not the journey; it is a very beneficial side-effect of the journey, but if you mistake for the journey itself, you will end up taking an unproductive side-trip. Pure bliss (Ananda) is a doorway to pure consciousness (Chit) and pure being (Sat); just as pure consciousness and pure being are doorways to the other two. (And yes, of course, all three are one.) But whatever vector you enter on, you must still go through the other two doorways.

Within psyche and soma, there is work (although it is not really work) to be done (although it is not really doing).


Yes, within psyche and soma, there is work to be done. But professionalism is not the journey either; turning your journey into your career is worse than a side-trip, it is a cul-de-sac, from which, one day, you will have to turn around and retrace your step. It is sad to see someone clearing away a little quadrant of psyche and/or soma, which they are constantly seeking to push out farther, incrementally and at the expense of others. Those who put out their shingle, as if they have anything to offer in such a way are just selling water by the river. They are digging ditches for themselves, all the while imaging they are freeing themselves and helping others. It never ends well.

Sooner or later your customers will have to do through their own re-wiring; and sooner or later, you will have to start over on your own journey.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Day After the Day After the Equinox: Kali is Not Neo-Con. Gaia is Not Corporatist. The Madonna is Not Christo-Fascist. You Have Been Warned.

Gaia, The Primordial Being of the Earth. (Anselm Feuerbach, 1875)

The Day After the Day After the Equinox: Kali is Not Neo-Con. Gaia is Not Corporatist. The Madonna is Not Christo-Fascist. You Have Been Warned.

By Richard Power

The Equinox. Yes.

Spring in the North, Fall in the South.

Can you experience both at once, as Gaia does?

Don't cheat yourself of the fullness of this moment. Embrace both hemispheres of the planetary psyche, and you are whirling in sync with Gaia.

Today is also another New Year, Iranian New Year: Nowruz 2571.

So 2012 has begun yet again. First, with the Gregorian calendar, in January, and then with the Chinese and Tibetan calendars, in February, and now with the Iranian calendar - the Spring Equinox is the Persian new year.

There are several more to come.

Can you feel these beginnings within one greater dance of beginnings and endings, as Gaia does?

For all of us this is another moment of truth. Seize it.

And for the Iranaian people in particular today, my prayer is that they throw off the yoke that has bound them to the brutal ignorance of the mullahs, and that whether they do or not, we all avoid a war which would only further debase our common humanity.

Let 2012, with each of its numerous New Year's days, and both of its seasonal cycles (north and south), be the moment of origination for a new spiral of human consciousness, reaching higher and deeper at once. Yes!

At this powerful moment, I draw your attention to three great issues, all of which are bound together, impact one and you will profoundly impact the other two, impact all three of them and you will have changed the world, in ways that would bring tears of joy to your eyes.

Circling the Drain

Day in and day out, season after season, year by year, and accelerating at every turn, the great barge of civilization is swirling closer and closer to the edge of the abyss.

Yes, we are circling the drain.

Pressures on Earth’s ecosystem are now so great that future generations could be doomed to falling living standards, the OECD said ... “Providing for a further two billion people by 2050 and improving the living standards for all will challenge our ability to manage and restore those natural assets on which all life depends,” it warned. “Failure to do so will have serious consequences, especially for the poor, and ultimately undermine the growth and human development of future generations.” Agence France Press, Environmental crunch ‘worse than thought’: OECD, 3-15-12

The world's water supply is being strained by climate change and the growing food, energy and sanitary needs of a fast-growing population, according to a United Nations study that calls for a radical rethink of policies to manage competing claims.
"Freshwater is not being used sustainably," UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said ...
Reuters, Climate, food pressures require rethink on water - UN, 3-11-12

Disaster-prone Asia Pacific will see a surge in climate-induced migration this century and governments need to start planning to avoid humanitarian crises caused by millions of people fleeing their homes, a new report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warned ... Reuters, Climate-induced migration a growing humanitarian threat - report, 3-13-12

Let Them Eat Nuance?

You realize, of course, that Sudan, and in particular, Darfur are the bloody tip of the Spear of Longinus. And that spear tip is annointed in oil and water, as well as human blood.

Yes, Sudan is the scene of our first Climate war.

This is a very inconvenient truth.

For more than a year and a half the Obama administration has been engaged in a callous and largely surreptitious disengagement from the ongoing human catastrophe in Darfur. This disengagement has taken many forms, and had various articulations. In August 2010 the phrase of choice was “de-emphasizing Darfur” in U.S. Sudan policy. In November 2010 a senior administration official spoke of “de-coupling Darfur” from considerations of whether Sudan should be on the State Department list of terrorism-sponsoring nations. Darfur, home to hundreds of thousands of in desperate need, now commands no significant policy attention in the Obama administration. For example, this week Dane Smith, Obama’s senior adviser for Darfur, declared in Pittsburgh that the Obama administration believed that “regime change” in Khartoum would be counterproductive ... Does it not matter that Darfuris are being asked to negotiate with a regime whose president and defense minister are under indictment by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and genocide? Eric Reeves, Darfur and the Diplomacy of Abandonment, Dissent Magazine, 3-16-12

Why does a Hollywood star have to lead in the struggle against the human rights abuses of the Sudanese government? The same reason NASA's leading climate scientist has to get arrested outside the White House instead advising POTUS inside the White House. We have a craven political system besotted with the fossil fuel industry's money and enthralled to the Risk game board fantasies of the military-industrial complex, and oh yes we have a President who has failed to lead on both of these vital issues. The one crisis exposes our conscience as a nation, and the other defines our future as a civilization.

The Hollywood actor and sometime political activist, George Clooney, was cuffed with zip-ties and taken away in a police van after being arrested during a protest outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington DC ... Joined by his father, journalist Nick Clooney, US Representative Jim Moran of Virginia and NAACP president Ben Jealous, the actor blocked the entrance to the Sudanese embassy ... "Stop raping them and stop starving them," he said. "That's all that we ask." George Clooney arrested in planned protest at Sudanese embassy, Guardian, 3-16-12

And do not be misled by those who want to denigrate the actions of Clooney and other men and women of conscience.

The American Taliban is Not "Pro-Life"

No, the American Taliban, is not "Pro-Life."

indeed, quite the contrary, just like their mad Islamic brothers, the American Taliban, i.e., the base of the Zombie Cult Formerly Known as the Republican Party, is Anti-Nature, Anti-Science and Anti-Woman, and that all sums up to Anti-Life.

A barrage of recent legislative initiatives spearheaded by Republicans on the national and state levels – collectively dubbed the “war on women” by Democrats and women’s advocacy groups – threaten to roll back U.S. commitments on the international level on gender equality and human rights. Nat Parry, ‘War on Women’ Breaches Global Norms, Consortium News,

Remember that silly book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? Well, in the reich wing of 2012, Men are from A Handmaid's Tale and Women are from Stepford Wives.

Elections have consequences. Dire consequences.

Here are five ways the GOP is continuing its onslaught on women's rights ... 1) Women are losing ground fast on abortion rights in states that were previously neutral ... 2) The assault on birth control isn't over, and some want to deny women the right to use it at all ... 3) Violence Against Women Act is under threat in the Senate ... 4) Abortion doctors and pregnant women are being targeted ... 5) We're defending ground we shouldn't be defending ...
Sarah Seltzer, 5 Right-Wing Violations Against Women That We Must Crush, AlterNet, 3-15-12

Fighting this attack on women's reproductive rights, and crushing it, will go along way toward winning on the Climate Crisis and on crimes against humanity. It is all inter-twined.

We need to look outward to non-western feminisms – as well as back to a hidden wellspring of our own true inheritance. I would say the "truest" intellectual heritage of western feminism – though one often buried or misunderstood – is the Enlightenment. The same impetus that led Mary Wollstonecraft to write Vindication of the Rights of Women is the same wellspring that led Tom Paine to write Common Sense, and Jefferson to phrase the declaration of independence in terms of natural rights bestowed by God, making all men (sic) equal. This antecedent places feminism as a natural position on the spectrum of rights in the global struggle for freedom and democracy. Naomi Wolf, How we can connect with feminism's global future, Guardian, 3-14-12

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, March 10, 2012

Point of No-Return

Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf. Cover, First German Edition (1927).
Photo credit: H.-P.Haack.

I have journeyed in this life from Steppenwolf to Siddhartha, and beyond; and I know from experience, that there is a point of no-return. It does not announce itself, it just happens.

It is almost imperceptibly at first, and then suddenly, somewhere along the way, you realize that YOU have changed forever.

Once you cross over the point of no return, you experience all that befalls you as an invitation to a greater understanding and ever more awesome responsibility, and yet you feel less and less self-important with every twist and turn.

Once you cross the point of no return, you see all the craziness of the world around you as a mirror, and yet you do not lose yourself in the chaos, nor do you lose the notions of truth, or beauty, or justice.

Once you cross over the point of no-return, you only respond with love, even when you can't.

Once you cross over the point of no-return, you are not afraid, even when you are.

-- Richard Power


Common Raven. Photographer: Atli HarĂ°arson.
Taken in Seltjarnarnes, Gullbringusysla, Iceland.

The ravens are not afraid. They are darker than darkness. Emulate them.

They look sideways at death and mock it. Their cawing sends a shiver through the eaves that empty into the swelling night. They have no pity, but they are not wasteful.

Huddled in the trees, they carry the Empyrean shrouded in their broad indigo wings.

-- Richard Power

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Three Civilization-Threatening Issues Hidden Behind A Cloud of Omission; & Why You Should SHOUT, Whisper, Sing "Primavera, Primavera ..."

Three Civilization-Threatening Issues Hidden Behind A Cloud of Omission; & Why You Should SHOUT, Whisper, Sing "Primavera, Primavera ..."

By Richard Power

Sandro Botticelli painted his magnificent Primavera (a.k.a. the Allegory of Spring) in 1482.

Have you ever studied this masterpiece?

Venus, goddess of love, is strolling through an orange grove, with her entourage. On one side of Venus, the Three Graces (i.e., beauty, charm and creativity) dance in a circle; on Venus' other flank, Flora, the goddess of flowers and Spring walks just a step or two ahead of her. (According to art historians Botticelli put five hundred plant species and one hundred ninety different flowers into this painting.)

Just beyond the Three Graces stands Mercury, the messenger god, gazing into the boughs of an orange tree, and wearing a sword on his belt, with which to protect Venus and her entourage.

Just beyond Flora, the nymph Chloris looks backs at Zephyrus, the god of the wind, who passionately pursues her from above.

Venus' blindfolded son, Amor (a.k.a "Cupid") floats above them all, shooting his flame-tipped arrows.

There is more, but you can discover it for yourself ...

I only offer contemplation of Botticelli's Primavera as a powerful counterpoint to the grisly news I need to deliver to you. It is grisly news you won't hear on the mainstream news tonight or tomorrow night or the night after ...

No, I am not going to expend this 1,300 or so words on the Zombie Cult formerly known as the Republican Party (there will be plenty of time for that before November), nor will I expend it whistling into the wind on Iran (there are others who whistle the right tune on that issue, notably eight former U.S. military, intelligence and State Department officials, and oh yes, Juan Cole) ... No, I am going to expend my 1,300 or so words on the three civilization-threatening issues that the political establishment and the mainstream news media refuse to confront ...

A year after the Fukushima triple reactor meltdown, and the political establishment and the mainstream news media are still in denial about the risks of nuclear energy.

The radioactivity that has fallen in Japan for many months from Fukushima will have enormous consequences to the people of Japan. The type of accident that occurred at Fukushima Daiichi was “something that never happened a multiple reactor catastrophe…happening within 200 kilometers of 30 million people,” notes Dr. Alexey Yablokov ... “The Fukushima disaster will be worse than Chernobyl,” agrees Dr. Janette Sherman ... Karl Grossman, The Big Lie: One Year After Fukushima, Nuclear Cover Up Revealed, 5-5-12

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is jeopardizing reform by failing to heed its post-Fukushima task force’s top recommendation to clarify its “patchwork” of regulations for “beyond-design-basis” events that reactors are not intended to withstand, according to a report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) ... Union of Concerned Scientists, NRC Needs a More Comprehensive Approach to Post-Fukushima Nuclear Safety, Report Finds, 3-6-12

Two years after the BP ecocide in the Gulf of Mexico, and the political establishment and the mainstream news media are still in denial about the risks of deep sea drilling.

After a yearlong drilling moratorium, BP and other oil companies are intensifying their exploration and production in the gulf, which will soon surpass the levels attained before the accident. Drilling in the area is about to be expanded in Mexican and Cuban waters, beyond most American controls, even though any accident would almost inevitably affect the United States shoreline. Oil companies are also moving into new areas off the coast of East Africa and the eastern Mediterranean. Stephen Lacey, Two Years After BP Disaster, Deepwater Drilling Regains Momentum, Climate Progress, 5-5-12

At least a full DECADE since scientific consensus on the consequences of human-induced climate change was reached, and yet the political establishment and the mainstream news media are still in denial.

High levels of pollution may be turning the planet’s oceans acidic at a faster rate than at any time in the past 300 million years, with unknown consequences for future sea life, researchers said Thursday. The acidification may be worse than during four major mass extinctions in history when natural pulses of carbon from asteroid impacts and volcanic eruptions caused global temperatures to soar, said the study in the journal Science. Ocean acidification may be worst in 300 million years: study, Agence France Press, 3-1-12

A new NASA study revealed that the oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is disappearing at a faster rate than the younger and thinner ice at the edges of the Arctic Ocean’s floating ice cap. The thicker ice, known as multi-year ice, survives through the cyclical summer melt season, when young ice that has formed over winter just as quickly melts again. The rapid disappearance of older ice makes Arctic sea ice even more vulnerable to further decline in the summer ... Joe Romm, The Arctic Death Spiral Continues: Thick, Multi-Year Sea Ice Melting Faster, NASA Study Finds, Climate Program, 3-1-12

Obama’s all-of-the-above energy speech took a none-of-the-above approach to environmental problems: It ignored them all, including the most important of them all, global warming. Obama is currently in the midst of a failed presidency from a historical perspective because of his abandonment of the climate issue, which is the only issue future generations are going to care about if we don’t act now, as I’ve said many times. Joe Romm, ‘All of the Above’: Obama Names His Failed Presidency, Climate Progress, 2-27-12

Political cowardice. Moral bankruptcy.

Profound psychological dysfunction.

But what are we to do?

Well, no matter what any of us imagine ourselves to be doing, all we can really do is what Mahatma Gandhi's suggested, i.e., "We must become the change we want to see in the world."

Yes, a great transformation is needed; the MASSIVE, NON-VIOLENT EVOLUTION I have have been calling for.

One vector into this great transformation might be to spend some time with the image of Botticelli's Primavera; within your own psyche, enter into the painting, and explore the energies depicted within it; perhaps even indulge in some home-brew mantra yoga, i.e., whisper, SING, silently intone, SHOUT "Primavera, Primavera, Primavera ..."

Maybe the Gods will re-awaken from their ages-long slumber, and rise again -- from within us.

"Primavera, Primavera, Primavera ..."

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