Archive | July 19, 2014

An Italian woman from India, Nepal and Tibet migrates to Austin, Texas

1. Life
2. Relationships
3. Relationship Advice

July 4, 2014
When you first meet or see Mudita Tuell she busts up all your stereotypes right away. You see, she’s an Italian blond, and she’s a Buddhist! I have never met a blond Buddhist before if my memory serves appropriately! I was introduced to Mudita because she is a co-worker with my wife.

Mudita goes through her day providing nursing support to those who are facing imminent death. I think she’s a wonderful employee by simply knowing Mudita’s spirit and what she brings to her job. She has a wonderful, kind, compassionate, serving-spirit which isn’t just something she puts on for other people—this is who she is.

She is also an artist who does great paintings and collages using paper and mementos that are visually-revealing, and are contacts perhaps for healing, meditation, and other spiritual practices. Mudita considers herself a healer. This no doubt is a combination of her own personality and her Buddhist beliefs. She uses crystals and other Buddhist artifacts in her healing process. Sometimes she directs you to other rituals, chants and prayers that are a part of her engaged Buddhist social activism.

As I wrote earlier, Mudita’s essence has the blessing of many multicultural paths; part of this inner model that resides in her Buddha-Heart is by way of where she has lived her life, and has experienced life along the journey. The beginnings of her life were phenomenal because her father wanted to join Mudita and her mother in India, and lived in Europe at the time. Her dad literally made his way overland, from Italy to India, and her family was reunited!

A very significant event of loss happened early in Mudita’s life; when her brother was about seven years old, he died of a very strange and deadly disease. The loss of her brother at such an early age impacted her life immensely and was very traumatic for Mudita. Perhaps this is part of the reason she felt her life leading into the beautiful lotus flower of healing. Mudita isn’t just a healer, but she is a “wounded healer,” a term coined by Henri Nouwen, who worked in a kind of monastic setting that included many residents with disabilities; Nouwen had to first find his path, direct himself along it, and use his understanding and experiential base of suffering and compassion to do the kind of caretaking work he did each day of his life. In short, he was an icon of a person who is a wounded healer. He deserves the credit for creating this term.

Eventually, in the course of her family’s migrations—via Nepal, Tibet and India—she had yogis and gurus who taught her what she knows. For example, one of her teachers was a renowned artist using Calligraphy as his main genre in the work he did; she was taught the arts and skills of art, simply by having this man as her mentor, and learning his style. She then moved to Italy to live near a Buddhist Temple which she says was amazing. At one time she even lived in a trailer, here in the U.S., on a Native American reservation; this was a time of extraordinary peace for Mudita.

The next point of significance for Mudita was emigrating to the U.S., seeking to make a home here. She attended college in California, and ultimately wound up in Austin, Texas. She loves Austin because of all the varied activities of the Live Musical Capital of the World, and in general, the positive, life-giving vibe of a vibrant arts community here.

Personally, I’m a Buddhist disciple—I practice Buddhist practices and philosophies, but I’m not really ready to claim that I’m an official Buddhist (whatever that is). Like Alcohol Anonymous, I study the Buddhist disciplines, take away what I can from them, and leave the rest. Perhaps I’m more of a Universalist.

My spirituality is based in Mysticism, and as I observe various spiritual and religious systems, I believe that all of the great faith traditions said, in essence, the same thing: one can contact what is divine and the unlimited, formless being, through your inner person via the window of some form of meditative, contemplative, and the inclusion of certain rituals. This is where the universal river meets; many of the earmarks of any group’s structure were added much later, after the founder of the religion died; the farther we go away from their initial revelations and teachings, the more conflictive and extreme seem to be the intra/inter-related creeds, dogma and doctrines of the faith traditions of the world. And some of them miss the mark—this leads to more confrontations and conflagrations—on the extreme ends of the continuum.

Mudita, as one who grew up in Buddhism, has helped me understand more of the practical, day-to-day ways that can lead me away from suffering, pain, trauma, and a general “de-centered” and aimless mindset. The fruit isn’t wellness or good karma, yet as I have been seeking to live out the principles of Buddhism, I’ve learned from Mudita the impermanency and inter-connectedness of all created life forms.

My path has been very useful to my own wellness; I’ve been a part of Mindfulness Groups sponsored by the VA, who are starting to use more alternative health care models, and interactions with other Buddhists and Buddhism. Thank you, Mudita, for your support in my own healing process and in your own! People like us will continue to alleviate suffering in the world, and, who knows, our karmic actions may actually help change the consciousness of this planet. The Way (Dao) and other Buddhist writings suggest that the possibilities are infinite. So, why don’t we go and see what’s happening around us in our world?

© Christopher Bear-Beam July 3, 2014

Don’t Mix Religion with Your Politics-Separate Them

This blog is super! I think it helps throws up an “immunization response” that enables us to stop and wonder if we are a “crusader” that can lean either to the Right or the Left. Enjoy!
Christopher Bear Beam, July 18, 2014

bearistablog

A lot of people in our nation who lean to the right, the religious right, have taken on the mantle of a very dangerous, deniable, pathological premise: the United States, Imperialistic America, was the land chosen by God to bring the globalized, white (civilized) phenomenon to the world—this was the Manifest Destiny of those descended from European extraction. This is the basis of the pathology of the anointed myth (a term used by Robert Jensen, well-known author of books about whiteness in the San Antonio Express-News, March 21, 2000, p. 7-B; Dallas Morning News, March 24, 2000, p. 25-A).

We ought to carefully remember the fact that the land-owning wealthy plantation elite men who formed the Federal government, voiced & wrote that America was to be the beacon of Democracy, the light on the hill, as a model to all nations of the world. Our pathological history of genocide, slavery…

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Don’t Mix Religion with Your Politics-Separate Them

A lot of people in our nation who lean to the right, the religious right, have taken on the mantle of a very dangerous, deniable, pathological premise: the United States, Imperialistic America, was the land chosen by God to bring the globalized, white (civilized) phenomenon to the world—this was the Manifest Destiny of those descended from European extraction. This is the basis of the pathology of the anointed myth (a term used by Robert Jensen, well-known author of books about whiteness in the San Antonio Express-News, March 21, 2000, p. 7-B; Dallas Morning News, March 24, 2000, p. 25-A).

We ought to carefully remember the fact that the land-owning wealthy plantation elite men who formed the Federal government, voiced & wrote that America was to be the beacon of Democracy, the light on the hill, as a model to all nations of the world. Our pathological history of genocide, slavery, & unjust laws that discriminated against persons/communities of color, somehow just doesn’t fit with who we say we are as a nation

All of our past injustices can easily be rationalized and justified, so in our creative genius what we did was create a story that we believed in, even if there was no truth to it. It did include much glory, righteousness, and patriotism. We created our storyline and narrative, and as the title of one PBS documentary explains, Race is the Power of an Illusion. Thus, anything that contains accurate information/content about our racialized pathology is screened out, ignored, rigidly defended, made a source of conflict and argument, and all of this happens due to cognitive dissonance—a sort of mental filter that usually produces a “flight or fight” response when we’re presented with new, unfamiliar information; the other reaction is denial and disbelief concerning the errors of so many of our cultural, racialized stereotypes.

I’ve learned throughout the years, in working on dismantling racism, as a co-facilitator of dialogue groups, training groups, and other projects, not the least being my own writing about these issues, that inviting God or Religion into the discussion, generally only adds a murkiness, emotionality and dissonance to one’s comprehension of what’s right, and what’s wrong (using moral & theological language). In other words, certain people permit themselves to be ensnared by the delusion, much as an addict begins to live out a role of dependency on a chemical of choice; this is where pathology enters, and sanity usually fades. We confidently believe we are players in the eternal plan. This is the crusade of the anointed, chosen ones. The USA is our golden destiny!

Obviously, this is a very heavy title. Anciently, in the nation of Israel, a priest usually anointed the future ruler; this lent credence to the theocratic paraphanelia that needed to be included in the anointing of a king, queen, prince or princess. In other words, it wasn’t so much that a prince may be worried about his kingship, or a queen her queenship, but it was part of what Israelites considered a God-ordained process, not a self-chosen process by some individual who has dominant power.
The idea that someone would take the label of “anointed” or implicitly assume that this is the status of those of European descent who colonized North & South America is a paradoxical fallacy. This is probably one of the most egregious & repugnant consequences of how God or Religion may be appropriated to one’s own people group in order to prove their own existence as Messiah: Rollo May used the term Messiah Complex. This is most likely one of the most arrogant worldviews anyone might believe in; it must be admitted that other nations have their own ways of doing this as well. The fundamental problem is that U.S. Imperialism has raped, pillaged, and raked away the resources of other nations in such an intense, monstrous & widespread way.

Ultimately, we’ve created the illusion of race (superiority or inferiority) through our own stories. This was the story we craved to believe, but who wants to doubt their own memory, and their own historical backdrop, and their own story? Not a lot of people would choose this option. What this calls for is the sacred investigation of our psycho-historical past, the willingness to be open to the accuracies of our racist background, instead of superstitions, myths, and lies, America, the great Democracy, has spent so much energy trying to live up to the illusionary model of the Beacon of Justice for the rest of the world. All of us needs to be self-reflective, and using Critical Thinking skills around these issues, and confront our need for social justice and equity for all people groups. This is compassion for the world, and I would rather choose compassion than continually lying to myself about the facts around my own racialized identity. That’s a pretty hollow & empty conclusion.
© Christopher Bear-Beam July 6, 2014

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