Friday, February 27, 2009

how dare he honor his campaign promises!

It seems the elite press corps was in a tizzy concerning Obama’s tax plans included in his recent budget. Basically, it’s the exact plan he campaigned on.

As explains the back and forth between the press corps and Obama's Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs:
Why would Obama raise taxes on people making over $250,000 beginning in two years? If you tamper with trickle-down, the dramatic shift of income toward the wealthy that was the hallmark of George W. Bush's tax policy, don't you know it'll be disaster? It'll be "class warfare!" (The first questioner: Are you worried that the "class warfare" argument could sink the budget?)

In a remarkable scene, Gibbs patiently and repeatedly explained that, no really, Obama actually won the election, that he'd explained exactly what he was going to do during the campaign, the American people understood and voted on it, and now he's doing it. During the campaign, Obama had pledged to cut taxes for 95% of American workers and end the catastrophic non-workingness of George Bush's trickle-down tax policy. Now, among some questioners, there seems to be confusion and alarm that Obama intends to implement that policy.

(highlighting is my doing)

That is how low political action has come in this country. It is just assumed that your campaign promises are just campaign strategies (aka lies), and that if and when you win, of course you will not honor them, and in fact, do quite the opposite.

The icing on the cake is that the arguments being made against the promises to keep are, at best, deceiving, and at worst, lies.

They call it wealth redistrbution, socialism, class warfare. And they point to the fact that small businesses will bear the burden. Most of it is untrue. The plan merely returns levels to the Clinton years.

Joe Klein in Swampland puts it exactly right:
At the heart of the progressive movement, one hundred years ago, was the notion of taxation on a sliding scale, according to income--the belief that the more wealthy you are, the more you should pay as a percentage of your income. The progressive income tax was launched, via constitutional amendment, by Woodrow Wilson in 1913. It remains one of the clearest fault lines between the left and the right.

After discussing the details of Obama’s plan and an interesting Larry Summer’s story that sums up the issue with Reaganesque simplicity, Klein ends his post:
Over the coming weeks you will hear this described as a form of radicalism. It is not. It is liberalism--and more: it is purest bright line available to divide liberals from conservatives in American politics. Let the screeching begin.

Exactly. Let the real arguments about progressive tax rates be debated. But throw out the empty rhetoric that has become such an expected part of the dance between the media and politicians.

In other words, start telling the truth. The means, and only the means, matter. The ends will then take care of themselves.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Thursday, February 26, 2009

the republican party and the betrayal of means

Nonduality in politics is like playing Monopoly with real money. No matter the transaction, the houses are still plastic.

But using Gandhi’s precept that the means and only the means are important, there is some basis for discussion for politics as well as life in general.

For eight years, the Republican Party played it loose with the budget, taxes, and war (including torture). Now they find themselves on the outs, and suddenly they’ve rediscovered their “principles” of conservatism.

In other words, for eight years, the ends justified whatever means possible. Defending liberty through repression. Paying for tax cuts with deficits. The list could go on, but the point is one and only one. The means were sacrificed to the end.

The result was disastrous for both the party, and more importantly, the nation and world.

I am not arguing the worthiness of the goal. I am speaking only to the means.

Historically there was a time for the turning back of the liberal pendulum that had begun in 1932 and had for all intents and purposes lasted to 1980, and the election of Reagan. The Great Communicator didn’t lie; he tried to convince, using his own belief to convince others.

It appears the pendulum is swinging again.

But after eight years of malpractice, the Republicans are attempting to turn back the clock. But it’s not the time; the day has changed.

The result is now a hollow rhetoric, playing loose with the facts, and arguing for quiet when the house is burning down. Now is not the time to drink the Kool-Aid, but to hose the plastic houses down with water.

But when a life has been lived playing loose with the means, the soul will tend to atrophy. What remains is a zombie capable of nothing positive.

They need to go into the desert. Well, they’re actually there. They just need to recognize that fact, realize how they got there, and understand they can't go back the way they came. Before they can ever find their way out.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Will Obama Heed the Lessons of Gandhi?

As of today, I’m changing the direction of this blog towards a nondual view of politics. It might last a day. It could last longer. In so doing, the name on the masthead has been changed to The Nonduality of Politics.

When I began this blog, I had one question in particular I was attempting to answer. To a certain extent, in December, I did. As much as one can.

Now I have another question concerning the answer. As will always be in the this life. But given surrender, and paying attention to intuition and signs, what does action guided by universal flow look like?

I’ve been reading Gandhi's commentaries on the Gita. And that entails a good starting point as any. We all know his accomplishments and non-violent means. But his understanding of ends is possibly even more important.
We should do no work with attachment. Attachment to good work is that too wrong? Yes, it is. If we are attached to our goal of winning liberty, we shall not hesitate to adopt bad means. If a person is particular that he would give coins to me personally, one day he might even steal them. Hence we should not be attached to even a good cause. Only then will our means remain pure and our actions too.
This may be the opposite of any politics, never mind the American variety. Maybe in our lifetime, there is only Martin Luther King. And although it could be argued that his eyes were on the prize, his actions never cheated. For as Gandhi also said, God has told us “we may work if we wish, but that reward of work is entirely for Him to give.”

We find ourselves at a turning point in American history. The unmitigated greed of decades in financial markets has eaten away at its own core.

We have the party basically in charge for the last thirty years unable to recognize that global shift and trying to sell a dead vision with downright lies. That’s why Jindal was so bad last night. We have a new party in control looking at the moment as an opportunity to press its long dormant agenda. Pelosi was so enthusiastic to lead the rally around the new quarterback after years of being on a losing team. And we have a President who appears to be a pragmatist at heart.

Where will it all lead? And, yes, I know, nobody is leading no one nowhere. But I'm just playing in the game right now. Humor me.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Monday, February 23, 2009

on compassion within an illusion

Understanding that your reality is an illusion, that your life is a story, and that none of it is true, does not mean that compassion is a part of the meaningless dream as well.

In fact it means that compassion is more central than ever, because Truth is one with Love.

Suffering is not real. Hatred is not real. Violence is not real.

Pain is real.

In ‘Emptiness Dancing,’ Adyashanti speaks to Meister Eckhart’s sense of the above:
If you are in a state of rapture meditating and your neighbor is hungry and needs a bowl of soup, it would be much more pleasing to God to give your neighbor the soup than to stay in the rapture.

Someone once said that God is a verb. In other words, there is no subject and object in Truth. There is only Spirit in motion, with attachment to no end.

In attachment comes suffering again, comes separation, comes the belief of ends justifying the means.

This in fact was the Gita-based genius of Gandhi: desireless Action: "means are after all everything."

Compassion for compassion’s sake.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Sunday, February 22, 2009

these four specific walls

Beauty Is In the Eyes

These walls, these four specific walls,
created by a crew of carpenters
encircle everything they swing
their hammer to: joint universe

no worse than highest mountaintop
or island ocean endless view.
Don’t let the mundane limit you.
There’s more to wonder than just 'the seven'—

even the manmade reeks of heaven.

~Son Rivers 2007

Friday, February 20, 2009

quantum spirit and Emerson

The world is quantum spirit and I know it best in nature.

When walking in the woods or even driving along the river, I begin to sense something other than this human-made world with its building blocks of concepts and words.

What I call the woods or river will not be contained by these words.

Here I need say no more for Emerson says more than enough:
Standing on the bare ground, -- my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, -- all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, -- master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. (Nature)
Consciousness Being Bliss indeed.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Thursday, February 19, 2009

there and then

In the monkhood of my study, it is relatively easy to know the reality of quantum spirit.

But when interacting with others, I often lose myself within that consensual reality, no matter how illusory I know it to be.

One has to, as Gurdjieff said, self-remember. Yet it’s easy to forget; here and now becomes there and then. But like Ouspensky, after confronting his tobacco shop, I do return.

And I find myself, when asking, again, who am I.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

in this way

It is not that the world around me is not real.

It is not the world I think it is.

I think there is a world of objects surrounding me, the subject. But both object and subject are my own creation, made by the tools of senses and mind. Neither is real.

The world is neither object nor subject; it is quantum spirit, the manifestation of Spirit.

In this way, the world is real.

In this way, I am real.

In this way, there is only this way.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

so much smoke

Illusions are like the smoke of fog. One cool wind can clear it all away.

The mist of empire is such a fog; its global economy is so much smoke.

Do not identify with the phantoms it forms as it disappears. Like fear itself, they are illusions within illusion.

Bear Stearns... Lehman... GM?...

There is nothing you can do. There is nothing to be done.

There is no doer. 'Thy will be done.'

"Having realized that you cannot influence the results, pay no attention to your desires and fears. Let them come and go. Don't give them the nourishment of interest and attention." (~Nisargadatta)

There is a reason (a dream reason albeit) why the truth has been revealed. It is not an unidentified flying object. It is not a free pass to some heavenly afterworld. It is what you are. It is here and now.

Rest in Truth. Rest in Spirit. Rest in Love.

While another empire rests...

chop wood, carry water.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Sunday, February 15, 2009

reality we think is real

The Tao of Reality

Given that the mind can never
comprehend the essence of
reality, it generates
a virtual reality,

reality we think is real,
reality we designate
reality, reality
that’s actually afraid to death

of actual reality,
that hungers to identify
with any form but genuine
reality in order to

convince itself it’s real. It isn’t.

~Son Rivers
January 2008

Friday, February 13, 2009

whitman and dickinson meet the heart sutra

Like Walt, I look at this world of always increase and substance, and I’m overcome.

To think that all of this is now created in my mind, and that none of it is real is not just wondrous but liberating.

That I can release all fear and loathing and allow the light of love to let me just enjoy this dream!

To be in solitude, to be en masse, to be, like Emily, this nobody.

"Form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form."

gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Thursday, February 12, 2009

something is happening

Something is happening.

To disregard the manifest is just another fundamentalist belief in something one calls nothing.

‘Nothing is happening’ is just another metaphor, another myth; to make religion from it misses the mark.

Something is happening but not what we think it to be.

This life is illusion. It’s a dream we create from five senses, domestication, and a mind that’s learned to think.

Don’t think. But if you must, and you will, then at all cost, don’t believe.

Don’t believe nothing is happening; something is happening.

The unmanifest made manifest.

Light knows light.


Dream it as love.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

its core

This life is such a flower.

I am but a stem.

The petals of this life are strewn beneath the sky like stars, and form the constellations we call nations, every one a myth unto its own.

This stem is dearly thin, but full of earth itself.

This earth is fire, coated with a crust of ash but burning with the light of consciousness within its core.

I am yet no more.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

light and light alone

Darkness does not exist. Only shadows do.

There is only light and light alone.

Before there was light, there wasn’t any shadow to call darkness either.

There was only the unknown.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Monday, February 9, 2009

Decartes had it backwards

It’s a matter of time. Or, rather, it’s an illusion of time.

I look around me and see a variety of objects. I can identify them. I can name them. I can hold them in my hand.

They are thus because I am thus.

But if I were to approach some difference in time, in the perception of time, towards some slowing down of my own internal experience of time, these objects would rise and fall in less than a heartbeat.

Everything is in a state of transformation.

Nothing is truly still; nothing is an object. We only perceive it as such.

There are no objects. There is only transformation, states of flux, pure energy, pure Quantum Spirit.

And I am not an object, a body. I too am Quantum Spirit.

I only think I am a body, I only think things are objects.

The world is only my thought. Who I believe myself to be is only a thought.

What I really am is not a thought. I think, therefore I forget what I am. Decartes had it backwards.

I am Quantum Spirit. I am Spirit. I am their Love.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Sunday, February 8, 2009

for saints and lotus leaves

Coming to Awakening Near You

This summer consciousness
returns and turns the garden
green again. Forgiveness
grows on lilac trees.
Compassion dons the dogwood
with a grace reserved
for saints and lotus leaves.
Imagine what would grow
inside the human heart
and mind if what I am
was just allowed to be.
That sun would light my life
and soon eliminate
reality as I
have always thought to know it.

~Son Rivers 2008

Saturday, February 7, 2009

still the witness

The Witness

At night, I dream, and in my dream,
there is a witness to its action.
There, a tiger roams these bare
New England woods; his yellow shadow
travels deriding the sun. The witness
watches. Then the tiger bounds
in lightning speed striking the woods
with silver flames. And still, the witness
watches. Suddenly the tiger
claws my face; a galaxy
of stars begins to bleed from out
my brain while thunder roars from deep
within. The witness watches, ever
aware and untouched. I wake in startle,
turn lights on in calming streams.
But nothing changes: still the witness
watches; still the dreamer dreams.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Thursday, February 5, 2009

points a finger

A Silly Little Finger Poem

He points a finger at the moon.
I ask him, what’s a finger?
He points a finger at himself.
I ask him, who are you?
He points a finger at myself.
I ask him, who am I?
He points a finger at the moon.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

its means alone will render meaning

Who Am I

I can’t think of any other
meaning to this dream called life
than love. It’s more than just some means
to justify an end—its means
alone will render meaning. Games
we otherwise are playing lack
all semblance of reality.
Pretending to be serious
about them beggars truth. (Although
I see no reason to convince
a being otherwise.) In fact,
just contemplating Spirit would
be bliss enough, but even what
we name Unmanifest became
this Manifest. I can’t explain—
but who am I to break the chain?

Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

we need dream a metaphor

Illuminati Inamorata

Begin with this, that nothing is real,
that everything we see is our thought—
but all is quantum spirit instead,
an energy—yet further—let’s call
it Consciousness—alive in a sense
beyond our wildest dreams, we need dream
a metaphor—so christen it god
in many names and ways, and devote
ourselves to him or her, even it,
like children, servants, slaves!—but in truth
just lovers candidly, devotedly mad
for contact with its incarnation unclad.

~Peace to All and One,
Son Rivers 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

licks you with its vast

The Trickster of Plum Island

The waves approach my footsteps like a pup,
Covert but playful, always moving in
With fearless leaps, then just as fast
Reversing that encounter with a spin
Of snout, a wag of tail, and then a jog
Around itself until it rushes past
The undertow, collects another swell
Of confidence, and rides the breaking surf
Again, repeating all in parallel.
But when at last it licks you with its vast
Infinity, you know you're on the turf
Of that coyote, trickster of this beach,
Inviting you to play with mysteries
Beyond the sweeping shorelines of your reach.

~Son Rivers 2002