Archive | July 2014

The Yin & Yang of Self-interest & Selfishness

Most of my life I’ve really been married to the concept that when the powers that be start to impose their usually-projected conceptions, from the Puritan Ethic, Other faith traditions who claim the belief that they are the sole model for what is a _________________________, what it means for someone to create with the help of others what it means to be a man or a woman, as well as the scourge of Consumerism and Globalism.

These impositions are reflecting a cultural value of CONTROL. In other words, if there is a problem in the world that seems to challenge our rugged individualism, and smoking Marlboros. The Cultural Value of self-autonomy and balanced ego functions.

The first colonizers and settlers to the U.S.A. came here first seeking freedom of religion. Eventually, however, the European Americans created an environment that would enrich themselves, and revolved around power and protecting one’s own self-interest. In the case of Native Americans, the European immigrants coming to our country, self-interest was soon encoded as extinguishing the savages, extinguishing the social and monetary milieu of Indigenous Peoples who ruled in sovereignty this broad, giving land; and by the way, the land was there for the conquerors not for those who lived a simple style of life, receiving the blessings of The Great Spirit, from the land and the water.

Isn’t there a contradiction and an incongruence here, so close that we’ve missed it, and spent so much denying our denial—some might reason that whoever had possession of land, were given it as a gift by the Divine/Beloved, thus, they were the ones who had received this Manifest Destiny.
I think false images of one’s own motives, and the blindness that overtakes a person when they’ve made every provision to live by self-interest; comes from a commonly held philosophy (in this case among European settlers), and then the process moves to the impirical self. The impirical self is a bonded-self; this is a larger self, a community of individuals, or a collection of tribes, clans, families, etc. Literally translated, we can conjecture that the impirical self is anything—people, place, thing, etc.—that you can see or sense with your senses. While many Indigenous Peoples were contaminated with illness, as per the selfless love of the settlers, and decimated many Native Peoples.

This brings the notion of self-interest back into play. Who decides what is best for someone? If you decide that only certain, understanding people are the sages who can decide what is in the best interest of the group, then it always breaks down into some sort of “Oh, yes, they’re less than” & elitism. I doubt if this happened much at all, but it was always a potential to avoid. We all have our collective archtypes and person groove of human nature. Indigenous Peoples were very equality-oriented with women being given leadership and dominant positions within the governance of their structured lives in community. Classically, it was Native Americans that taught the settlers much about farming. This was an other- oriented gesture on the part of the hosts, and the settlers should have been very grateful to the Natives for educating them how to plant, grow and harvest the food output; this also meant a more stable economy, with the addition of agriculture, for the various land regions, and the entire nation. As the Native Americans had to escape from their lands, with European Americans trying to kill them, or re-locate them to reservations (internment camps).

Here’s the irony: Settlers received benefits that eventually enriched their interest in the economy; racism has always been about the dominant group enriching themselves without having to do much but drive the inhabitants of the land onto reservations; by extrapolation, Native Americans have some of the highest percentages of chronic illness, domestic abuse, substance abuse, and, for many, unemployment. Thus, many Native Americans have left the reservation and moved to an urban location where jobs are more plentiful. This also may lead to the felt sensations of fear, survival, disconnection from culture & community, and social isolation.

In the case of settlers who were Europeans, constitutional racism was embedded and in the end institutionalized. No matter what the settlers would claim, there was always the irrational denial, and delusion that their dealing with self-interest egoism that expected the most positive results of love for self, love for family, love for the earth, love for the sky, love for the waters—in short, these are lofty platitudes, and the open truth shows the benefits the Europeans obtained through the labyrinth of lies, destructive behavior, murder, killing of innocents, and broken promises made in a spirit of trust.

Copyright Christopher Bear-Beam

The Internalization of Oneness

It’s May, but here the heat isn’t yet unbearable
with the heads of metaphoried madness we travel
to Pedernales Falls , Texas to experience its exquisite,
organic beauty.

As we walked down the path to reach one of the
falls that emboss this state park, along with dogs’ friendly barks,
shortly before we got to the falls\as we walked, hip-joined in love,
I notice a large, uprooted tree, sporting a gangly mess of roots, bark,
twisted and gnarly branches and vines—there in the middle
of the tree’s upturned base, is a stone about two feet by
length, and about half that amount for its width.

As I stared at this sight, I wanted some really bad ass
insight as to why this might have happened. Why would a
stone, pushed by external forces or not, lodge itself in the bottom
base of our unmoored friend of the non-footed kind?

Their strangeness of partnering, though they have so
very different elements that compose their make-up,
Yet for whatever weird and random energies, they
find themselves in the middle of local land crisis,
maybe some of the programs at the park are dis-
continued, or who knows what, but please this
has nothing to do with administering the state park in order
to give vibrant, environmental life and to monitor the levels
of human and natural interaction within the notion of
Wellness.

Later as I drew this natural anomaly on my sketch pad,
The image which kept flowing within me like a warm and
Low dose of eclectic and electric energy. I clearly saw that
I was going to draw three eyes in the piece. One signifies
The Third Eye that represents spiritual knowing, percept-
Ion, intuition, and an open heart to the spirit.

If I’m correct The Third Eye is what we can choose to ally
Ourselves with, but from a reflection of my drawing, it
Appears as though The Third Eye has hidden itself; of
Course, I am only conjecturing in my own mind.

As I stand looking at the catastrophe with my own two
Eyes plus a brain, the paradox of the stone with the wood,
And how so much of the natural world is simply a mystery
And very mystical. Toppled over, and decaying together in the
Decay Stage 3 where the stone and the wood
Have gotten acquainted and now feel the intern-
alization of their oneness.

Paradoxes can teach many things; how we often re-
spond is with “knee jerk” responses, or “parroted” explanations
to others about what we think we know
Paradoxes assist us in arriving at something that may seem very opposite
Of what we always thought and said\paradoxes are
Messengers that cause to think critically, and then
To ask ourselves if our belief systems are 100% based on fact. Are they myth or fact? Do we listen to our inner spirit, and what does that mean for each of us? Are we in denial as it relates to ourselves?
Ask the hard questions of yourselves.
© Christopher Bear-Beam May 17, 2014 (momma’s BDAY!)

A Break from the Bush

The South China Sea
Drives in another herd.
The volleyball’s a punching bag:
Clem’s already lost a tooth
& Johnny’s left eye is swollen shut.
Frozen airlifted steaks burn
On a wire grill, & miles away
Machine guns can be heard.
Pretending we’re somewhere else,
We play harder.
Lee Otis, the point man,
High on Buddha grass,
Buries himself up to his neck
In sand. “Can you see me now?
In this spot they gonna build
A Hilton. Invest in Paradise.
Bang, bozos! You’re dead.”
Frenchie’s cassette player
Unravels Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.”
Snake, 17, from Daytona,
Sits at the water’s edge,
The ash on his cigarette
Pointing to the ground
Like a crooked finger. CJ,
Who in three days will trip
A fragmentation mine,
Runs after the ball
Into the whitecaps,
Laughing.
© Yusef Komunyakaa. (1993). Neon Vernacular, p.146.

Hanoi Hannah

Hanoi Hannah

Ray Charles! His voice
Calls from waist-high grass,
& we duck behind gray sandbags.
“Hello, Soul Brothers. Yeah,
Georgia’s also on my mind.”
Flares bloom over the trees.
“Here’s Hannah again.
Let’s see if we can’t
Light her goddamn fuse
This time.” Artillery
Shells carve a white arc
Against dusk. Her voice rises
From a hedgerow on our left.
“It’s Saturday night in the States.
Guess what your woman’s doing tonight.
I think I’ll let Tina Turner
Tell you, you homesick GIs.”
Howitzers buck like a herd
Of horses behind concertina.
“You know you’re dead men,
Don’t you? You’re dead
As King today in Memphis.
Boys, you’re surrounded by
General Tran Do’s division.”
Her k knife-edge song cuts
Deep as a sniper’s bullet.
“Soul Brothers what you dying for?”
We lay down a white-klieg
Trail of tracers, Phantom jets
Fan out over the trees.
Artillery fire zeros in.
Her voice grows flesh
& we can see her falling
Into words, a bleeding flower
No one knows the true name for.
“You’re lousy shots, GIs.”
Her laughter floats up
As though the airways are
Buried under our feet.
© Yusef Komunyakaa. (1993). Neon Vernacular, p. 141.

We Never Know

He danced with tall grass
For a moment, like he was swaying
with a woman. Our gun barrels
glowed white-hot.
When I got to him,
a blue halo
of flies had already claimed him.
I pulled the crumbled photograph
from his fingers.
There’s no other way
to say this: I fell in love.
The morning cleared again,
except for a distant mortar
& somewhere choppers taking off.
I slid the wallet into his pocket
& turned him over, so he wouldn’t be
kissing the ground.
© Yusef Komunyakaa (1993). Neon Vernacular, p. 145.

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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