Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stream of consciousness

Right now I have an empty house, which is an invitation to come here for a while.

Today was a gorgeous day! The weather was fine and I got to run and come here. It's not too hot to run in the afternoons yet. Today I feel like a stream or brook, winding through the natural world with gentle energy and sound.

I've got a peaceful, easy feeling, and I know you won't let me dooooooown .... 'cause I'm alllllll-ready standing, on the ground. Gotta get that song lyric in!

This summer, we are going to visit Washington, D.C. I can't wait! This is something I have dreamed about. There is no place in the country I would rather visit. I'm sure I will cry, often, seeing the magnificence of historic sites and feeling the aura of how many people have passed through with their hopes and dreams ... the mall, the monuments, the Vietnam memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the wonderful Smithsonian. We have requested tour tickets for the White House, the Capitol, and the Supreme Court.

I would love to see the Supreme Court, and all three places, of course. I love the intellectual rigor of legal arguments made by the justices. I would so enjoy seeing them in action. The most intelligent minds are unpredictable and malleable. That is how the justices should be. It's so sad that everything has become so ideological and that the justices' views on a few very narrow issues has such enormous influence on whether a Supreme Court nominee can be confirmed these days. Aah, treading into treacherous political waters here.

Speaking of politics, I reminded myself in a prior post that I wanted to talk about politicians in our country today. It's a time when the concept of a "statesman" seems so quaint and out of fashion. Everyone serving in the field seems to have been dishonored because of the popular (populist?) anti-government view that suddenly made a showing when President Obama was elected. All of a sudden, the deficit spending was an issue of great concern to many voters who were not satisfied with the tax cuts they had, and have, received.

The off-balance-sheet hundreds-of-billions wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that did not make our country more secure, did not provoke any kind of outrage like this. Off-balance-sheet meaning it was not even officially included in the national budget or deficit calculation! Estimates floating around the Web for the cost of both wars to date vary from $880 billion to well over a trillion dollars, easily a match for the total anticipated cost of the health-care law, which includes funding mechanisms to pay its cost that the wars do not.

Anyhow, get me started on politics and it is hard to shut me up. Politics and spirituality seem at odds with one another, somehow. I lose that peaceful feeling pretty fast when I start going on about politics.

I was listening to a podcast by Thich Nhat Hanh recorded in 2005 about his much-anticipated trip to his homeland of Vietnam after many years of living in exile. Someone asked what the significance of his trip might be, and he answered that he would leave that determination to the politicians. I assumed an ironic or sarcastic tone in his voice, just automatically. But as he continued speaking, it dawned on me that he has the same deep respect for well-intentioned politicians that he has for all humanity. It was hard for me to notice that because my cultural bias against politicians is so strong. I am immersed in a culture that has no respect for the vocation of public servant, that has lost that ideal of why people run for office. Maybe we've been here before. I think politicians have always had to be strong when people say such nasty things about them.

And here's another topic I need to talk about sometime, is the rather toxic environment that we are immersed in here in the good ole USA right now. I love my country deeply, but we are having a lot of issues right now. Our popular culture, our food and exercise habits, our political habits, our laziness, ignorance of world neediness and suffering, complete self-focus, addiction to TV and other electronic garbage, and our love of money -- all terrible things that do not bode well for our future as the greatest country in the world. That list is in no particular order, by the way. Oh, and our horrendous energy consumption per capita, something that other countries may emulate. The national debt (now approaching the levels it reached during WWII) needs to be on the list too.

I do believe that what we put into our body (food and exercise) determines how well we can live our lives -- how much energy we can bring to our thought processes and actions is directly determined by our wellness, and most Americans are unwell. We are suffering from a nationwide soul sickness, it seems.

1 comment:

  1. You will LOVE D.C. Having grown up in PA I was fortunate enough to have been able to travel there quite a bit. Make sure to take in the Lincoln Memorial as well and take time to read his second ingauguration speech etched into the wall. It is very moving, and his words still echo true today.

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