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A moment of spiritual reflection...

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By Ben Stein on CBS Sunday Morning

I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late!!!

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.
My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.... And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out.. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'
In light of recent events.... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school.. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr.... Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay...
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing yet?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit.
If not, then just discard it... no one will know you did.... But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully, Ben Stein


A Clash of Civilizations...

Arab-American Psychiatrist Wafa Sultan:
There is No Clash of Civilizations but a Clash between the Mentality of the Middle Ages and That of the 21st Century

Following are excerpts from an interview with Arab-American psychiatrist Wafa Sultan. The interview was aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 21, 2006
.
Wafa Sultan: The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete.
[...]
Host: I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?
Wafa Sultan: Yes, that is what I mean.
[...]
Host: Who came up with the concept of a clash of civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was not Bin Laden. I would like to discuss this issue, if you don't mind...
Wafa Sultan: The Muslims are the ones who began using this expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations. The Prophet of Islam said: "I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger." When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to stop this war, they must reexamine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels.
My colleague has said that he never offends other people's beliefs. What civilization on the face of this earth allows him to call other people by names that they did not choose for themselves? Once, he calls them Ahl Al-Dhimma, another time he calls them the "People of the Book," and yet another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or he calls the Christians "those who incur Allah's wrath." Who told you that they are "People of the Book"? They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books that you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking. What gives you the right to call them "those who incur Allah's wrath," or "those who have gone astray," and then come here and say that your religion commands you to refrain from offending the beliefs of others?
I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it.
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: Are you a heretic?
Wafa Sultan: You can say whatever you like. I am a secular human being who does not believe in the supernatural...
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: If you are a heretic, there is no point in rebuking you, since you have blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran...
Wafa Sultan: These are personal matters that do not concern you.
[...]
Wafa Sultan: Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me. You are free to worship whoever you want, but other people's beliefs are not your concern, whether they believe that the Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan is God, son of Mary. Let people have their beliefs.
[...]
Wafa Sultan: The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people. The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them.
 
Courtesy of Memritv.org Also see My Space Wafa Sultan

Global Warming Strikes Again! HUH?!?

Buenos Aires has first snow since 1918

James Sturcke and agencies ~ Tuesday July 10, 2007 ~ Guardian Unlimited

A woman enjoys the first major snowfall in nearly 90 years in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo: Enrique Garc a Medina/EPA
The Casa Rosada, the Argentinian president's "Pink House", verged on turning white overnight after Buenos Aires was blanketed in snow for the first time in nearly 90 years.
Children threw snowballs while photographers tried to capture the falling flakes as a party atmosphere descended on the city. Crowds gathered at the Obelisk monument in central Buenos Aires, the traditional focal point for Argentinian celebrations and protests.
"Despite all my years, this is the first time I've ever seen in snow in Buenos Aires," said Juana Benitez, an 82-year-old who joined children celebrating in the streets.
Story continues here.


Happy King Kamehameha Day ~ Monday June 11, 2007
Aloha nui loa.


Buddhists retaliate for Islamic attacks in Thailand
By RUNGRAWEE C. PINYORAT Associated Press Writer
(Bakersfield Californian April 27, 2007)
BAN BALA, Thailand (AP) - Failed government efforts to quell the Islamic insurgency in southern Thailand have left the area's Buddhists frustrated, armed and raring to fight back.
The violence has taken an ominous turn lately with a string of apparent tit-for-tat outrages. On March 14, hooded insurgents ambushed a van and killed eight Buddhists, including two teenage schoolgirls. That evening, two bombs outside a nearby mosque and at a teashop killed three Muslims and injuring about 20, and five days later, gunmen opened fire at a dormitory of an Islamic boarding school, killing three students.
It's the first time Islamic institutions have been targeted since the insurgency broke out in 2004.
No one has claimed responsibility, and the government has sought to portray the attacks as Islamic provocations, not Buddhist acts of vengeance. But the end result is heightened distrust on both sides that many fear could turn into communal warfare.
"We are ready to declare war," said Prasit Nuannin, the Buddhist chief of Ban Bala, a mountain community whose population of 2,000 is split about equally between Buddhists and Muslims.
Policemen and village militia armed with assault rifles and shotguns have stepped up their guard over the local Buddhist temple here, fearing insurgents will try to torch it. Continued here...

Current Events...
For a time, I am going to refrain from commenting on "the war" but rather present archetypes of spiritual wrestling as the Self struggles to become one with itself. In this manner perhaps we can better grasp what the world is undergoing in terms which make more sense than the seemingly chaotic and violent madness which polarizes our communities and divides the souls of human illusion. ~ D.L.


HO'OPONOPONO by Joe Vitale

"Two years ago, I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients--without ever seeing any of them. The psychologist would study an inmate's chart and then look within himself to see how he created that person's illness. As he improved himself, the patient improved.

"When I first heard this story, I thought it was an urban legend. How could anyone heal anyone else by healing himself? How could even the best self-improvement master cure the criminally insane? It didn't make any sense. It wasn't logical, so I dismissed the story.

"However, I heard it again a year later. I heard that the therapist had used a Hawaiian healing process called ho 'oponopono. I had never heard of it, yet I couldn't let it leave my mind. If the story was at all true, I had to know more. I had always understood "total
responsibility" to mean that I am responsible for what I think and do. Beyond that, it's out of my hands. I think that most people think of total responsibility that way. We're responsible for what we do, not what anyone else does--but that's wrong.

"The Hawaiian therapist who healed those mentally ill people would teach me an advanced new perspective about total responsibility. His name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. We probably spent an hour talking on our first phone call. I asked him to tell me the complete story of his work as a therapist. He explained that he worked at Hawaii State Hospital for four years. That ward where they kept the criminally insane was dangerous. Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick a lot or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their backs against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients. It was not a pleasant place to live, work, or visit.

"Dr. Len told me that he never saw patients. He agreed to have an office and to review their files. While he looked at those files, he
would work on himself. As he worked on himself, patients began to heal. "'After a few months, patients that had to be shackled were being allowed to walk freely,' he told me. 'Others who had to be heavily medicated were getting off their medications. And those who had no chance of ever being released were being freed.' I was in awe.'Not only that,' he went on, 'but the staff began to enjoy coming to work. Absenteeism and turnover disappeared. We ended up with more staff than we needed because patients were being released, and all the staff was showing up to work. Today, that ward is closed.'

"This is where I had to ask the million dollar question: 'What were you doing within yourself that caused those people to change?' "'I was simply healing the part of me that created them,' he said. I didn't understand. Dr. Len explained that total responsibility for your life means that everything in your life- simply because it is in your life--is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world
is your creation.

"Whew. This is tough to swallow. Being responsible for what I say or do is one thing. Being responsible for what everyone in my life says or does is quite another. Yet, the truth is this: if you take complete responsibility for your life, then everything you see, hear, taste, touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is in your life. This means that terrorist activity, the president, the economy or anything you experience and don't like--is up for you to heal. They don't exist, in a manner of speaking, except as projections from inside you. The problem isn't with them, it's with you, and to change them, you have to change you.

"I know this is tough to grasp, let alone accept or actually live. Blame is far easier than total responsibility, but as I spoke with Dr. Len, I began to realize that healing for him and in ho 'oponopono means loving yourself. "If you want to improve your life, you have to heal your life. If you want to cure anyone, even a mentally ill criminal you do it by healing
you. "I asked Dr. Len how he went about healing himself. What was he doing, exactly, when he looked at those patients' files? "'I just kept saying, 'I'm sorry' and 'I love you' over and over again,' he explained.

"That's it?

"That's it.

"Turns out that loving yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself, and as you improve yourself, you improve your world. "Let me give you a quick example of how this works: one day, someone sent me an email that upset me. In the past I would have handled it by working on my emotional hot buttons or by trying to reason with the person who sent the nasty message. "This time, I decided to try Dr. Len's method. I kept silently saying, 'I'm sorry' and 'I love you,' I didn't say it to anyone in particular. I was simply evoking the spirit of love to heal within me what was creating the outer circumstance. "Within an hour I got an e-mail from the same person. He apologized for his previous message. Keep in mind that I didn't take any outward action to get that apology. I didn't even write him back. Yet, by saying 'I love you,' I somehow healed within me what was creating him.

"I later attended a ho 'oponopono workshop run by Dr. Len. He's now 70 years old, considered a grandfatherly shaman, and is somewhat reclusive. He praised my book, The Attractor Factor. He told me that as I improve myself, my book's vibration will raise, and everyone will feel it when they read it. In short, as I improve, my readers will improve. "'What about the books that are already sold and out there?' I asked. "'They aren't out there,' he explained, once again blowing my mind with his mystic wisdom. 'They are still in you.' In short, there is no out there. It would take a whole book to explain this advanced technique with the depth it deserves. "Suffice It to say that whenever you want to improve anything in your life, there's only one place to look: inside you. When you look do it with love."

Sanity, Not Fascism, Begins To Speak Out...
Arab Majority May Not Stay Forever Silent
By YOUSSEF IBRAHIM
July 17, 2006 (courtesy The New York Sun)
Yes, world, there is a silent Arab majority that believes that seventh-century Islam is not fit for 21st-century challenges. That women do not have to look like walking black tents. That men do not have to wear beards and robes, act like lunatics, and run around blowing themselves up in order to enjoy 72 virgins in paradise. And that secular laws, not Islamic Shariah, should rule our day-to-day lives.

And yes, we, the silent Arab majority, do not believe that writers, secular or otherwise, should be killed or banned for expressing their views. Or that the rest of our creative elite - from moviemakers to playwrights, actors, painters, sculptors, and fashion models - should be vetted by Neanderthal Muslim imams who have never read a book in their dim, miserable lives.

Nor do we believe that little men with head wraps and disheveled beards can run amok in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq making decisions on our behalf, dragging us to war whenever they please, confiscating our rights to be adults, and flogging us for not praying five times a day or even for not believing in God.

More important, we are not silent any longer.

Rarely have I seen such an uprising, indeed an intifada, against those little turbaned, bearded men across the Muslim landscape as the one that took place last week. The leader of Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, received a resounding "no" to pulling 350 million Arabs into a war with Israel on his clerical coattails.

The collective "nyet" was spoken by presidents, emirs, and kings at the highest level of government in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco, and at the Arab League's meeting of 22 foreign ministers in Cairo on Saturday. But it was even louder from pundits and ordinary people.
Perhaps the most remarkable and unexpected reaction came from Saudi Arabia, whose foreign minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, said bluntly and publicly that Hezbollah's decision to cross the Lebanese border, attack Israel, and kidnap its soldiers has left the Shiite group on its own to face Israel. The unspoken message here was, "We hope they blow you away."

The Arab League put it succinctly in its final communique in Cairo, declaring that "behavior undertaken by some groups [read: Hezbollah and Hamas] in apparent safeguarding of Arab interests does in fact harm those interests, allowing Israel and other parties from outside the Arab world [read: Iran] to wreck havoc with the security and safety of all Arab countries."

As for Hezbollah and its few supporters, who have pushed for an emergency Arab summit meeting, the response could not have been a bigger slap in the face. Take a listen:

* Abdul Rahman al-Rashed, the general manager of Al-Arabiya, possibly the most influential Arab opinion-maker today, was categorical yesterday: "We have lost most of our causes and the largest portions of our lands following fiery speeches and empty promises of struggle coupled with hallucinating, drug-induced political fantasies." As for joining Hezbollah in its quest, his answer was basically, "you broke it, you own it."

* Tariq Alhomayed, editor in chief of the Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, stuck the dagger in deeper: "Mr. Nasrallah bombastically announced he consulted no one when he decided to attack Israel, nor did he measure Lebanon's need for security, prosperity, and the safety of its people. He said he needs no one's help but God's to fight the fight." Mr. Alhomayed's punch line was, in so many words: Go with God, Sheik Nasrallah, but count the rest of us out.

Several other Arab pundits, not necessarily coordinating their commentary, noted that today Sheik Nasrallah has been reduced to Osama bin Laden status, a fugitive from Israeli justice, sending out his tapes from unknown locations to, invariably, Al-Jazeera, the prime purveyor of Mr. bin Laden's communications.

All in all, it seems that when Israel decided to go to war against the priestly mafia of Hamas and Hezbollah, it opened a whole new chapter in the Greater Middle East discourse. And Israel is finding, to its surprise, that a vast, not-so-silent majority of Arabs agrees that enough is enough. To be sure, beneath the hostility toward Sheik Nasrallah in Sunni Muslim states lies the deep and bitter heritage of a 14-century Sunni-Shiite divide, propelled to greater heights now by fears of an ascendant Shiite "arc of menace" rising out of Iran and peddled in the Sunni world by Syria.
The sooner this is settled the better.

Outer Space / Inner Space: The Final Frontier of Mind
 
Space exploration is not understood even by those who are engaged in it. It isn't about driving our space buses out onto the freeways of outer regions of our galaxy. It isn't a physical adventure. It reflects the on-going discovery of mankind's Divinity. The undertaking of reaching out beyond our planet is our way of expanding our understanding of who we really are. We already are what is out there to discover and in our discovery of that we will discover who we are to a greater extent. Also we are undergoing changes in consciousness which will rapidly rewrite the history which is already unfolding. Even as our consciousness changes so also will our forms change and our physical nature will undergo rapid alterations which will conform to a more spiritual understanding of ourselves. We will rise up to a new level and our civilization will represent a discovery in our identity which will ring out throughout the heavens. It isn't the magnificence of creation we are viewing which makes all of this so incredible but rather that we are the participants who have become witnesses to the unveiling of this new painting which we have always perceived as the unknown future. And this future has always been painted by mystics and writers and artists and philosphers and metaphysicians in a more knowable civil universe of spiritual revelation as if each new aspect were an answer to our most precious prayers: a world without hunger, the elimination of disease, order and balance and harmony among nations, a clean environment, all things which reflect a spiritual breakthrough in consciousness. It will require an understanding of all of this in order that we prepare to enter into the vast unknown which we must understand as the receiving of ourselves by who we really are. In this manner our approach and how we interact with our environment throughout space will require an almost therapeutic approach to our reality. This understanding will bring about the necessary metanoia which will alter our dimensionality so that space becomes friendly to us as opposed to one which keeps us tethered to this mud ball seemingly spinning around our sun. Everything we encouter in space will have its corresponding meaning within our own consciousness and how we interact with it will be tied directly to how we interact with ourselves. Space is not filled with good and bad beings seeking to exploit the weaknesses of other planets but rather evolved beings reach a point of realization of their divinity and find that the gravity which holds their feet to their heredity are released to express their true nature in ways hitherto unknown. All that we know will remain what brought us to this point but once we cross that line we will no longer be held captive to our history but rather set free from it to be the Divinity in Action that we are discovering. ~ Dr. Derek Lamar

 
Your Roots Are In Eternity
There is a lot of upheaval in the world today, but that has always been so. How do you cope with this? Do not take it serious. Do not identify with it. Do not deny it. And accept the seriousness of it on one level but on another level, the reality where you can step outside of yourself, realize the NOWNESS of that level as your I AM state. In this place know that everything is whole, complete and perfect. This is your Reality Self. Here you must "be still and know the I AM / God". Despite the appearances all around you know that everything is alright. Everything is Whole. Everything is in perfect harmony and there is no upheaval in this place. And the only feeling here is peace and love. Know that your roots are in Eternity and from this place you must grow to know who you really are. ~ Dr. Derek Lamar


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