in through the window

Picture of the Day
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February 15, 2003


These photos were taken by Bruce Gray at the Saturday February 15 2003 peace rally and march in Seattle, Washington, USA.
Tens of thousands let their feelings be known. It felt good to unite in defense of highest human ideals: peace, justice, liberty.
The indigenous peoples of Manhattan did not really "sell" their island for $24 b/c they did not think you could own the land.
I'm afraid people today harbor similar notions about civil rights--they just are, and no one can own or revoke them.
But our rights are only secure as the paper they're printed on--the United States Constitution.
Those protections were deeply eroded by the deceptively named USA PATRIOT Act. And the sequel is already planned.
10/25/01 should be remembered as more infamous than 9/11/01. 3,000 dead is little compared to this and future generations being robbed
of their basic liberties. The police were reserved today. Take Constitutional protections away and they will have a field day...

Dr. Seuss style AMERICA, 2003

The Whos down in Whoville liked this country a lot,
But the Grinch in the White House most certainly did not.
He didn't arrive there by the will of the Whos,
But stole the election that he really did lose.
Vowed to "rule from the middle," then installed his regime.
(Did this really happen, or is it just a bad dream?)

He didn't listen to voters, just his friends he was pleasin' Now, please
don't ask why, who knows what's the reason. It could be his heart wasn't
working just right. It could be, perhaps, that he wasn't too bright. But
think that the most likely reason of all, Is that both brain and heart
were two sizes too small. In times of great turmoil, this was really bad news,

To have a government that ignores all its Whos.

But the Whos shrugged their shoulders, went on with their work,
Their duties as citizens so casually did shirk.
They shopped at the mall and watched their T.V.
They drove a gas guzzling big S.U.V.,
Oblivious to what was going on in D.C.,
Ignoring the threats to democracy.
They read the same papers that ran the same leads,
Reporting what only served corporate needs.
(For the policies affecting the lives of all nations Were made by the
giant U.S. Corporations.) Big business grew fatter, fed by its own greed,
And by people who shopped for the things they didn't need.

But amidst all the apathy came signs of unrest,
The Whos came to see we were fouling our nest.
And the people who cared for the ideals of this nation
Began to discuss and exchange information:
The things they couldn't read, in the corporate-owned news,
Of FTAA meetings and CIA coups,
Of drilling for oil and restricting rights.
They published some books, created Websites,
Began to write letters, and use their e-mail
(Though Homeland Security might send them to jail!)

What began as a whisper soon grew to a roar,
These things going on they could no longer ignore.
They started to rise up and fight City Hall
Let their voices be heard, they rose to the call,
To vote, to petition, to gather, dissent,
To question the policies of the "President."

As greed gained in power and power knew no shame
The Whos came together, sang "Not in our name!"
One by one from their sleep and their slumber they woke
The old and the young, all kinds of folk,
The black, brown and white, the gay, bi- and straight,
All united to sing, "Feed our hope, not our hate!
Stop stockpiling weapons and aiming for war!
Stop feeding the rich, start feeding the poor!
Stop storming the deserts to fuel SUV's!
Stop telling us lies on the mainstream T.V.'s!
Stop treating our children as a market to sack!
Stop feeding them Barney, Barbie and Big Mac!
Stop trying to addict them to lifelong consuming,
In a time when severe global warming is looming!
Stop sanctions that are killing the kids in Iraq!
Start dealing with ours that are strung out on crack!"

A mighty sound started to rise and to grow,
"The old way of thinking simply must go!
Enough of God versus Allah, Muslim vs. Jew
With what lies ahead, it simply won't do.
No American dream that cares only for wealth
Ignoring the need for community health.
The rivers and forests are demanding their pay,
If we're to survive, we must walk a new way.
No more excessive and mindless consumption
Let's sharpen our minds and garner our gumption.
For the ideas are simple, but the practice is hard,
And not to be won by a poem on a card.
It needs the ideas and the acts of each Who,
So let's get together and plan what to do!"

And so they all gathered from all 'round the Earth
And from it all came a miraculous birth.
The hearts and the minds of the Whos they did grow,
Three sizes to fit what they felt and they know.
While the Grinches they shrank from their hate and their greed,
Bearing the weight of their every foul deed.

From that day onward the standard of wealth,
Was whatever fed the Whos spiritual health.
They gathered together to revel and feast,
And thanked all who worked to conquer their beast.
For although our story pits Grinches 'gainst Whos,
The true battle lies in what we daily choose.
For inside each Grinch is a tiny small Who,
And inside each Who is a tiny Grinch too.
One thrives on love and one thrives on greed.
Who will win out? It depends who you feed!

Author: Unknown
Swami's 2003 State of the Universe Address
by Swami Beyondananda

Hello everybody -- it is great to be here ... and you know what? We really have no choice. Because no matter where we are, we are always here. And it is always now. In fact, there's even a book called The Power of Now. I haven't had time to read it yet, but I hope to get to it in a later now.

Meanwhile, back in this now, the issue facing the United States, and indeed the world is, will George Bush give in to his Big Iraq Attack and order up a war? Latest reports say that a war to force a regime change in Iraq will cost $200 billion. It is puzzling to me why some of those fiscal fitness fanatics in the Republican Party haven't tried to find a cheaper way to do it. Maybe if they offered the Iraqis half -- $100 billion -- they could do it themselves.

Then we'd still have $100 billion left to spend on regime change in this country.

Because -- and I have to be blunt here -- the folks we have in charge are fossils fueled by fossil fuels. And in the reptilian brain, problems aren't solved, they're attacked.

Like the War on Poverty. Remember that? I'm happy to report that it's finally over. The poor people have all surrendered. And take the War on Drugs -- please! How many billions have they spent? My solution is cheaper and more effective ... improve reality!

Now we have the War on Terrorism. We're going to terrorize those terrorists into giving up terrorism if it's the last thing we do! And it just might be. The good news is -- and I have it on the Highest Authority -- there will indeed be peace on Earth. Whether we humans are around to enjoy it, that is up to us.

No wonder there is so much fear, uncertainty and confusion on the planet. I'll tell you how bad it's gotten. You've heard of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle? Well, they're not even sure about THAT anymore. And so, more and more people are turning to the mystics for answers.

I have often said there are two kinds of mystics, the optimystics and the pessimystics. Now pessimystics seem to be more in touch with "reality," but optimystics are happier and live longer for some reason. The pessimystics have been crying, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" The optimystics say, "No. It just looks that way because we are ascending."

Now, for those people who read the news -- not to mention those unfortunate enough to BE in the news -- last year was not an easy year to keep an optimystic attitude with so much pessimystic evidence. Call me a hopeless "hopium" addict, but I choose to accentuate the positive. For example, you can say we human beings have moved further down the path of self-destruction. Or you could say the Earth is ridding itself of a virulent parasite.

You can despair over continuing war, disease and starvation, or you can go, "Hey, population control the good, old fashioned way -- without birth control or abortion." Who says "compassionate conservative" is an oxymoron?

You can worry about the government taking liberties with our liberties or you can say, "Life has become simpler! They've boiled the Bill of Rights down to just one: You have the right to remain silent."

So I am not going to dwell on the negative. As my guru Harry Cohen Baba used to say, "Life is like photography ... we use the negative to develop." So let us look at the bright side.

Like technological advances, for example. Forty years ago President John F. Kennedy promised to have a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Well, we have far exceeded that. Thanks to the so-called Patriot Act, George Bush can have a man on Uranus by the end of the week!

George Bush was responsible for a great spiritual advance last year, as well. He upgraded the Golden Rule for the new millennium. It's now the Gold Rule: "Doodoo unto others before they can doodoo unto you."

And -- say what you will -- President Bush has made great strides on behalf of minority representation. Never before have we had a President who was looking out for a smaller minority.

Now this is the State of the Universe Address, and seen from that higher perspective, things look great! I am happy to report that the Universe continued to expand in 2002, and in fact, they actually had to let the Photon Belt out a another notch. An expanding Universe means more jobs too, so we can expect a steady influx of aliens looking for work. Yep, the Universe just keeps purring in perfection, ever-changing as usual. The planets continue to harmoniously spin in their orbits, and except for the occasional case of asteroids, they just calmly go about their business.

Meanwhile, back here on earth, things are a bit more problematical. We still haven't fully recovered from that vicious dogma attack of 911. But as an optimystic, I believe you can indeed teach an old dogma new tricks, simply by changing the emPHAsis to another sylLABle. Instead of focusing only on emergency measures, why not take emerge 'n SEE measures?

When we emerge from our fearful hiding places and see from the cosmic comic perspective, we realize that beneath all the stress and distress and sadness in life there is a deep well of joy. Each time we let laughter bubble up from the well, we experience deep wellness. Levity helps us overcome gravity, especially when we shine the light of laughter on those poorly-lit corridors of power.

Do you know what the leading cause of terrorism is? It's seriousness. I'm serious. Think about it. Those people have no sense of humor. Otherwise how could they believe they will get to heaven by putting other people through hell?

Here is my vision: A suicide bomber arrives at the Gates of Heaven, and God clops him over the head and says, "SCHMUCK! What'd you do that for? 72 virgins? YOU get one 72-year-old virgin, and his name starts with Ayatollah!"

But if Americans are willing to revive the Iraqi Horror Picture Show just to feed our out-of-control oil habit, how are we that different? How many innocents will be put through hell, just to preserve our little corner of relative heaven? There is no real peace without harmony and balance, only the vicious cycle of injustice. Peons get tired of getting peed on, right? You get pissed on, and pretty soon you're gonna get pissed off. This causes the hot spots to flare, and pretty soon you have an uprising, which usually results in a downfall. All these uprisings and downfalls can be wearing on the body politic.

Fortunately, we do have a choice. One of my favorite stories recently is about a Native American grandfather talking to his young grandson. He tells the boy he has two wolves inside of him struggling with each other. The first is the wolf of peace, love and kindness. The other wolf is fear, greed and hatred. "Which wolf will win, grandfather?" asks the young boy. "Whichever one I feed," is the reply.

Every day -- every moment -- we have the choice to feed the wolf of love or the wolf of fear. It is interesting that we are called humanKIND. What better time than now to find out, can mankind treat man kindly?

I have a dream ... I call it tell-a-vision. I say, if you're dissatisfied with the current programming, you can turn off your TV and tell a vision instead. Here is my vision: Remember the Manhattan Project during World War II? It took less than four years for a group of scientists to develop the first weapon of mass destruction. My vision is, we can do even better for an even worthier goal. We could call it the Manhelpin Project, and its purpose would be to develop the first weapon of mass construction instead.

Think about it. What if we used that $200 billion set to detonate in Iraq, and put it toward becoming the worldwide leader in renewable, clean, sustainable energy sources? Now there's some real power. Create something so plentiful you don't have to pay an army to protect your share. A healthy income, a healthy outcome ... what could possibly make more sense? Boy, talk about feeding two birds with one scone!

The choice is up to us. If we want an alternative, we must feed the "alter native" economy ... anything that alters us natives for the better. The world we live in is a byproduct of the products we buy, is it not? What if we only choose to buy products with healthy byproducts? Think about this: There are at least 45 million Americans who consciously want to feed the wolf of peace. If each of us switched just $100 into the alter native economy, that would be $4.5 billion!

Last year, we launched a blisskrieg and declared "all out peace." I'm happy to report it is already working. More people are letting their inner peace out, and these outbreaks of peace are actually causing esteem to rise! And we all know that rising esteem is good for the atmosphere.

As esteem rises, more people on the planet will be able to be all that they can be -- without joining the army. And when more of us put our energy into love and laughter instead of criticizing and condemning, we will have Uncritical Mass ... and we will bring about Nonjudgment Day, and along with it, Disarmaggedon. Now you might be wondering, what will Nonjudgment Day look like? Let me tell another vision.

I have been to the heights of levity, and I have seen people all over the world dancing together in the universal dance of fool realization ... The Hokey Pokey. I want you to hold this vision with me: all of the world leaders at the United Nations beginning their sessions with the Hokey Pokey.

What if Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat put their whole selves in? That would be commitment. And then pulled their whole selves out. That is detachment. Then they turn themselves around, which is transformation. And that, my friends, is what it is all about!

So, how can you help raise the laugh force on the planet enough to bring about Nonjudgment Day? First, you can take a vow of levity, and laugh more. And we even have a Laughmore Society to help you do just that. Next, you can support everyone's right to laugh by joining the Right To Laugh Party... "One big party, everyone is invited. All for fun, and fun for all."

Commit random acts of comedy. Practice Fun Shui and leave the world a funnier place. Anything to elicit a moment of fool-realization with a spark of laughter. Because only when we lovingly laugh at our foolishness, can we seriously change things for the better. May you wake up laughing and leave laughter in your wake ... and may the Farce be with you!