Some engage in spiritual work for greater personal growth. Some seek “inner peace” through spiritual practice, hoping to experience a calmer and more relaxed pace in life. Others search for clarity, balance, self-knowledge, or enhanced skills. Still others walk the paths of the Spirit because they have already attempted to travel other roads, and found them wanting.

However, whatever our motivation for setting out on the terrain of the Spirit, we always find great blessings from this endeavor. If there were no results from this practice of watching the breath, being attentive to our bodies, examining and polishing our minds, exploring inner realities, the deep and true aspects of ourselves – our souls – we simply would not bother. But all who enter the spiritual realms know: we experience wondrous things and taste of sweet fruits, beyond what words can describe or express.

Each person who journeys inward, and is thereby able to discern and act wisely in the outer world, receives their own special gifts. Each can testify to their own unique learnings and insights, growth and expansion. And each soul, as it travels the Spiritual Road, unfolds its own qualities and character, its own beauty and truth. The early Christian writer Paul sets out what he thinks the Spirit provides: “love, joy, peace, patience, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). However, though many of us have received these things, we each receive something unique and different.

In our time, however, I have found that, whatever else we receive from the Spirit when we seek it, explore it, and grow from it, we receive POWER. And this is the Spirit’s most valuable gift!

As the outer world’s forms shift, break, and disappear; as what we see and experience is transformed, re-formed, and constantly altered, many of us may feel confused, disoriented, uprooted – and even disempowered. Some may seek money, fame, or physical strength as forms of power; to express power, to maintain power. And though each of these is a kind of power, none is the deepest or truest power. All are fleeting. All are impermanent. All will fade.

The power of money DOES assist us – and in the current economic and cultural structures, it remains necessary. But money itself is only a sign, a marker, a humanly created instrument of exchanging items and measuring value. It is only as real as we believe it to be so, and only powerful when we operate according to its rules. Money has no power on its own, apart from what we give to it. Pieces of paper printed with green ink; circles of silver or copper-colored metal; sets of numbers in apparent accounts in supposed locations – these are cultural constructions, which can easily pass away – and they WILL pass away.

Fame: notoriety, “being seen,” being celebrated – all of us wish to be noticed, valued, and loved. But those who become “public figures,” and seem to influence others through their actions or speech: this, too, is an unspoken “cultural agreement” that people make with “the famous.” All human stars, whether stars of music, film, or some other aspect of mass media manufacture, are always fading stars. They rise into the firmament of fame – and begin their dissolution even before they are fully formed. Fame is an ephemeral power – it cannot stave off change, or loss, or shifts in circumstance. It is truly weak; a false pseudo-power, dying even before its birth.

Physical power — especially violent physical power — whether it comes from blows of the fists of one person to the body of another, or from weapons like swords, knifes, rifles, missiles, or bullets – or the threats to use them – this too is limited, though apparently effective. Physical strength can do great harm to bodies. And when it kills someone, its destructiveness causes great grief to those who love and cherish the one who dies. Physical strength can also do great good, when utilized to build, to defend, to create. But like fame and money, this form of power arises, and then falls away. As the Tao Te Ching teaches: “Green plants are tender and filled with sap. At their death they are withered and dry. Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death. The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life. The hard and strong will fall. The soft and weak will overcome.”

All three forms of power – money, fame, and physical strength – are useful, when understood and exercised wisely. But they become weaknesses when they are the primary object of those who use them. They are mere things – they rise and fall, are born and die. They are derivative types of power. They are passing forms of the greatest power.

The greatest power is the Power that Creates, Upholds, and is ever Re-making the universe: All Life, All Physical Reality, All Things, All Unseen Energies. Love may be one of its manifestations, but in its essence, its truest existence, the Real Power is deeper by far than any one attribute or characteristic. It is deeper and stronger, more vast and intimate, even than Love.

It is ours. It is yours — and mine – and everyone’s. It belongs to each, and to all, and to none. It is always available. It costs no coin. It never fades. It has greater strength than bombs or bullets, fists or weapons. It is always available.

But how are we to reach it, to access it, to receive it, to shape it, to use it?

It is actually quite simple. As our previous posts have set out, especially “On Beginning” and “On Entering the Realms Within,” all we need is to breathe, become fully attentive to our bodies and surroundings, and then turn our gaze and our attention inward. Look to the place within which is aware of the rising and falling, the coming and going, of perceptions and thoughts. Allow images to arise from our imagination. And go to the source of the risings: the dark place within, the doorway to the Inward Universe. “Darkness within darkness, the gate to all mystery.” It is with us always, awake or asleep, conscious or distracted. It is the Primal Darkness, our own participation in the Unseen Presence. As the poet Rilke puts it:

“Darkness, my darkness, I stand here with you,
And everything passes outside.”

This Darkness, this Source, is the inner ocean from which all things come. Whenever we need power, let us turn to it, stand in it, rest in it, become and remain conscious of it. It is the source of dreams, the place of deep rest, of creativity and command. This is the Power that gives us all other powers.

Careful, consistent, and courageous spiritual practice brings us to the gates, and then the dwelling place, of this greatest of powers. In our inner journeying, we can converse with this power; listen to it; rest in its silent strength; receive its exquisite embrace. Returning to it, we will always discover something new from its depths and riches.

This Great Power will guide us in all our required tasks. Let us allow it to bring to form what we seek, what we need. Let us work with what surfaces from it. Let us claim its beauty. This is the power of the Creator, the Creative, the Creating – our Power, the Spirit’s greatest gift.

Basking in it, we are the Creators. We are the New World Coming. In us, the realm of blessing and beauty and bounty is awake, and alive, and active. “Be really whole, and all things will come to you.”


All of us can sense it.  We can sniff it in the breeze.  We can feel it in the altered ever-changing rhythms of existence; the stresses and overwhelming sweetness of daily living; in the bizarre weather of droughts and floods; in the toxic anxiety of unfulfillable expectations; in a corrupt culture and politics; in endemic violence against the vulnerable.  In an economic system driven by greed and apparently unaccountable executive criminality; in the lack of beauty in public spaces and places; in the transformation of things, people, and the Earth itself into allegedly quantifiable “money value” or “sales price;” all also know that something is deeply amiss.  This unjust decadent unsustainable system, this arrangement of seeming reality, cannot stand.  It is falling apart.  The sound of its crashing echoes in our ears, whether we are awake, sleeping, or dreaming.

Capitalism is ending.  This is not just an economic diagnosis.  It is a cultural and spiritual one.  The “way the world works” which emerged from European feudalism 500 years ago, conquered the world politically and culturally, and now claims to march everywhere triumphant, punishing attempts at democracy and solidarity, killing people of color in the US, Europe, and over the globe with systematic glee.  . . it is over.

Let us sing praises to the Spirits!  The Beast is mortally wounded!  It will not survive.  It is already doomed.  It knows its days are few.  Its violence and cruelty, in Charleston, Gaza, Greece, the Texas detention camps for “undocumented” families, the deaths of refugees from war on the waters of the Mediterranean; in the vast oceans of silent daily suffering; all these are certain signs of the weakness of this Destructive Way.  It is over.

Although the sense that we are in the midst of “the End of the Age” has been expressed in various ways for some time (including street preachers threatening with “Hell” all who refuse to join them in a narrow and fearful worldview), a few recent reflections on war, imperialism, and economics show clearly that all previous forms are unworkable; that the Empire is declining and decayed; that ideologies, whether religious or political, will not birth a New Way; that capitalism and violence are passing.

In “The Superpower Conundrum,” Tom Engelhardt reflects on the decline of the US as a great power.  Though it once held an invincible position as the capitalist victor after World War II, it is now in a faltering and uncertain position in what is often called a “multipolar world.”  With the advent of nuclear weapons, “total war” (as practiced in the 20th Century’s “world wars” by the capitalist powers) gave way to “limited war,” with the most powerful weapons becoming useless, since they would incinerate the world which the rulers wished to control.  Even the use of “surgical strikes” in the “War on Terror,” exemplified most of all by President Obama’s favorite weapon, the “Drone,” has not defeated the current demonized enemy, “the Terrorist,” but can only destroy, leaving more corpses of “collateral damage,” constantly producing more Terrorists.  Attempting to strike fear into those who would oppose being dominated has merely created more brutal forms of response (e.g. Nigeria’s Boko Haram or the infamous “ISIS” movement).  Weapons themselves are becoming useless; even as they become more sophisticated and destructive, they cannot accomplish their stated goal. They only express revenge.  Engelhardt concludes that “military power no longer seems to act as it once did on Planet Earth.  Under distinctly apocalyptic pressures, something seems to be breaking down, something seems to be fragmenting, and with that the familiar stories, familiar frameworks, for thinking about how our world works are losing their efficacy.  Decline may be in the American future, but on a planet pushed to extremes, don’t count on it taking place within the usual tale of the rise and fall of great powers or even superpowers. Something else is happening on Planet Earth. Be prepared.”

What does it mean, to be prepared to live as human beings, in a world where all that is familiar is passing away?

Vijay Prashad’s July 4 consideration of the current state of the “Global War on Terror” comes to a similar conclusion.  Though states can be destroyed (Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Mali are current examples), “Global War” cannot build anything to replace what has been bombed and dismantled.  Even “great powers” like the US or Europe are unwilling to engage in unwinnable wars with soldiers and ships.  In situations of purposely constructed chaos, the most effective actors are NOT armies or navies of “legitimate governments,” but non-state militias like the Taliban and ISIS.  But even these provide no answer; they only offer the violence of revenge against the violence of bombs and missiles.  Neither imperialism nor religious sectarianism is workable.  A dead end has been reached.

So much for Violence, whether by States or “independent forces.” Though Violence can kill, brutalize, harm, and destroy, it cannot create.  Its power is limited, and ultimately ineffective.  War as an economic and political strategy, and the use of the barrel of a gun to express power, is fading.  The Beast is brutal, but its swords are the claws of a dying animal.

On the economic plane, some still see capitalism as the most dynamic, powerful, and adaptive system that has ever existed – and that it will continue to shift and create new forms of power and domination, even as old ones disappear or are themselves consumed by the all-consuming “Market.”  However, other writers, without discounting the current system’s power to produce immense pain and suffering, and without relying on blind or wishful hopes, are describing the current time as one of transformation and transition to “post-capitalist” human existence.  Arundhati Roy, novelist and chronicler of our current terrifying and empowering time, has carved a beautiful description of what we face and what is arising.  “The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.  Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Paul Mason, writing in The Guardian recently, notes that leftists and progressives once thought a frontal assault by an “armed working class” would overthrow capitalism and usher in a new age of freedom.  But with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the betrayal of revolution’s promise in violence and state terror, and the apparent splintering of the human race into commodities by ever-expanding individualism and isolation, these older modes of understanding have proven untrustworthy or false. However, Mason sees capitalism being transformed from within, by its own developments and tendencies, rather than by being conquered by some direct attack.  Mason sees “post-capitalism” arising from three things, all related to the appearance of information technology.

(1) The line between work and free time is blurred, as automation and machines make production costs fall, the need for regularized schedules and in factories and offices fades, and the necessity of physical labor for survival decreases. (2) The amount of information increases as the Market seeks to set prices based on scarcity.  This contradiction means that the way “supply and demand” has produced “cost” and “value” in the past is no longer workable.  (3) Forms of “collaborative production” are arising spontaneously.  One example Mason cites is Wikipedia, which is run by volunteers for free and has effectively eliminated the “encyclopedia business” reduced advertisers revenue by billions of dollars per year.  Although Facebook and Amazon are monopolistic corporate forms of Internet-based business organization, cooperatives, time banks, and other forms of shared production and distribution (like Farmer’s Markets in CA!) are proliferating, successful, community-creating, and largely outside the dictates and power-processes of “the Market.”

The Market and its servants in Seats of Power still seem to hold sway, though, in the short term.  The recent suffocation of democracy in Greece and the ongoing murdering of black people in the US show that “the System” remains strong, oppressive, and murderous.  And despite widespread awareness that more militarism, more policing, and more austerity is a dead end, which cannot be maintained as a long-term mode of life, there seems to be, in the words of Reagan and Thatcher from a former time of shifts in power dynamics, “no alternative.”

Yet, we all know that the current arrangement of low wages and high debts for the many, coupled with increasing advantages for the powerful and well-connected, will not survive.  Ever-expanding profit and greater uncertainty leads to more burst bubbles, less stability, more disturbance.  And beneath it all, the Earth Herself is responding, calling all who tread on her soils, drink of her waters, and eat of her fruits to come to balance.  Or perish in the wake of floods, droughts, earthquakes, or other expressions of her anger.

Given this situation, when many must seek to survive by earning money at low-wage jobs and taking on debts, which only replicates ancient and false constructions of apparent power, we need to seek New Ways ahead.  But the road into the New World Coming has not been built, much less paved or made smooth or clear before us.  How are we to act, when we know the present is flawed in its cruelty and dissatisfaction, but the future is completely unknown and unknowable, and the path is not apparent?

The first step on the untrod path is to claim the Powers that we do have.  Our own bodies, minds, hearts, thoughts, and energy belong to US!  Though we must sell our skills and experiences as commodities in the “Labor Market” to produce the monetary resources for survival under current capitalist economic arrangements, our real value and worth is NOT based on aspects of ourselves that we can sell.  Rather, our True Worth is Infinite.  Our physical health is not beholden to a profit-seeking “health care insurance system.”  Rather, we are healthy when we make wise choices about food, physical activity, releasing stress, life-giving relationships, and solitude which renews.  The rhythm of our lives becomes the strong and steady music of inner and outer Power.  Whatever our current situation, we can build our own Power  with constancy and care, every rising and setting sun, every moon cycle, every season.  Our own lives belong to US, not anyone else, not any other power or person or institution.

As outer structures swiftly change and many dissipate or disappear, we can become Shape-Shifters in a world of incessant shifting.  Being flexible rather than fixed is essential.  Being unattached to particular forms, and watching what rises and falls, takes shape and passes away, we learn to discern ourselves, others, and arising opportunities for new forms of work and life.  We must be ready to adapt, rather than settle for or accept what IS.  And even if we wished a part of external life would last, it will not!  Change is constant, and its pace is always increasing.

As the stream of life flows by, we must be true to ourselves, our deepest desires and hopes, our thoughts and visions.  This is best cultivated, enriched, and manifested by engaging in creative outer life and a deeply engaged and exploratory inner life.  The Source for all things is Within Us.  Crafting a rhythm to our lives that uniquely balances quiet and sound, stillness and motion, exertion and rest, while being certain to turn our gaze inward to the terrain of Spirit and Soul, we find the best Way to continue our journeys fruitfully.  We can plumb the depths of our Inner World, bringing up riches to guide and empower us, while learning to WATCH the outer world, and respond to it wisely and well.  Some features of a wise person are perfectly described in the ancient-yet-timely lines of the Tao Te Ching:

Watchful, like people crossing a winter stream.  Alert, like those aware of danger.  Courteous, like visiting guests.  Yielding, like ice about to melt.  Simple, like uncarved blocks of wood.  Hollow, like caves.  Opaque, like muddy pools.

Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?  Who can remain still until the moment of action?

As the outer world, shifts, changes, disintegrates, and takes new forms, we must watch, be still, and move, all at the right time – which we will always sense rightly if we learn to discern, grow in patience, and respond from within.

Creativity, too, is absolutely necessary.  What we love to do, most of all, is create: to express ourselves truly, in whatever form or style best comes forth from us.  As capitalist systems of politics and culture destroy, we create – and are creating the post-capitalist world as we do so.  The less we participate in oppressive economic, political, and personal forms of domination, the less energy we give to the fading and dying ways which are unsustainable.  Giving time and energy to creative activities whenever possible, in ways most expressive of our ever-unfolding inner truths, in images and forms that arise from within us and our relationships, rather than being imposed by the outer worlds of marketing and advertising – this gives us joy, and is our contribution to the New World Coming.  It breathes as we breathe.  It takes form as we give it form.  Creating a culture of care and beauty, emerging from our Inner Power and not the fading powers of Money, Markets, and Weapons – this is our task in these days.

We must also collaborate with other Creators.  Those with whom we are meant to Co-Create will  appear for us.  Whether we create music, dance, healing, writing, acting, teaching, learning, or enterprises of shared work — all these forms and shapes of human expression are meant to be shared, not sold as commodities.  As we create, and continue to seek Inner Realms and find rest in Inner Quiet, the Spirits will provide Co-Workers with us and for us.

Finally, we must dare to imagine a different world.  And then proceed from vision to actualization!  Our imaginations arise from our dreams and visions, whether sleeping or waking.   As we act based on imagining the future rather than fearing it, our work and play, our loves and learnings, will bring the New World Coming into Being.  The path is not easy or obvious.  And yet, it rises up to meet us, becoming clearer as we take each step onward in time and space, inwardly and outwardly.  We need not fear the fading powers of the Old Ways.  The New Ways are already stronger.  They simply need nurturing.

Rhythms of Spirit-Practice, providing Power to Adapt, Shape-Shift, and Sustain.  Dreams becoming Visions Made Real.  Inner Exploration guiding Outer Discernment.  Learning and Teaching.  Sharing and Building.  Above all, Creating and Imagining.  Let us proceed!

Here is a powerful witness from my dear Brother and Co-Worker Rev. Dr. Art Cribbs, in the wake of the Charleston SC terrorist attack. Your thoughts and responses are deeply welcome.

When, America, Will It End?

The massacre inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Caroline, cuts deeply into the souls of every decent person across this nation. The faithless, unprovoked act of a 21 year old White man during a prayer service is unconscionable. Yet, it is not rare or historically unusual. The killing of nine human beings, six women and three men, including the pastor of the church shatters any illusion about safety on sacred grounds. It is possible the weapon used had been given to the butcher only recently as a birthday present.

The events on that fateful Wednesday night inside the church where the murderer sat with his victims for more than an hour before pulling his deadly weapon and repeatedly firing and re-loading, creates a veil of tears that blurs any notion of redemption. Is it safe anywhere in America for Black people? The church is the citadel of hope and the sanctuary to escape fear.

The precision and execution of the killer’s plot on the terms of his choosing sends a chilling message to Black people: our lives are at risk at all times in all places. Consider the site of this demonic decision, a historic African American religious institution, where its founding pastor, the Reverend Denmark Vesey, was a martyr to end slavery in Confederate South Carolina in 1822. Emanuel AME is a symbol of Black love, courage, and the advancement of justice.

It must be made clear that the threat of death at the hands of racially-insane culprits will not deter our faith or lower our resolve to address the plague of violence that saturates American culture. Instead, we must re-double our commitment to honor the lives of every human person as sacred. We hold this truth that an act against innocent people is a direct assault on God who creates, shapes, and inspires every human person in divine imagery.

The killer did not act alone. There is a source for his hatred. He was informed by others who share his depravation and support his actions. A culture of callous, criminal conduct produced the basis for his deadly deed. We have witnessed these acts before in school yards, a movie theater, classrooms, and in the House of God. In too many cases, young White men pulled the triggers and left their lifeless victims slumped dead in places where they fell.

How long will America perpetuate domestic terrorism and senseless shootings by her young sons? What will it take to change attitudes, behaviors, and minds to transform this society into a haven of sanity? When are too many deaths enough to say, “No more?” Will the necessary change come only after the last drop of blood splatters on the powerful faces of those who have never felt the cruel course of denial?

For now, once again, Black people in America weep not only for our own who have been slaughtered without mercy, but also for the lost souls who don’t realize the blunt reprisals of unyielding evil and insensitive racism.

Rev. Dr. Art Cribbs
June 2015

Having just completed a season of teaching and learning at my current workplace, the process and experience of these mutually related enterprises are more sparkling and sacred than ever. In the context of Spiritual Exploration, especially! Also, a short piece has come to me, by Adrienne Huber, who has run a “democratic school” in Australia. She calls it “The Getting of An-Education.” In her piece, she writes that the school is based on the principle that “regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, ability, background, people who are trusted with their own learning will learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it.”

This is what Spiritual Exploration entails! The learning of what we need to learn, when we need to learn it. But in our current cultural and political situation, real learning is rare, or often happens in a haphazard or even accidental way. The surrounding culture contributes to a scattered and unfocused cast of mind. We often jump from one external stimulus to the next, without intentionally claimed time and space for reflection, inner exploration, self-understanding, or growth.

To truly learn the Ways of the Spirit(s), in our time, does NOT mean ingesting and then repeating a set of information. Rather, we must learn how to watch, to be attentive to time and opportunity, to be ready both to move and be still. But always in a dance with what is within and without us. There is no prescription, no universal principle, no “right answer.” There are only experiences, discernments, deeds and their consequences. Learning the Spirit(s) Ways is to learn how to see, hear, respond, and be still, in an authentic rhythm. And, in a way that brings us Power.

Any school where students and teachers explore the Spirit would go in and out of form. People would gather, in groups small or larger, in pairs, or in solitary self-direction. Books can be read; stories can be told; practices can be learned and explored, honed and polished. Music would be heard and created, dances performed, songs and silence experienced. As the outer world we now know continues to change form, with even major economic enterprises undergoing constant transformation, appearing and disappearing rapidly, a School of Spiritual Exploration would be a “formless form,” with various people sharing skills, insights, experiences, opportunities, ideas.

The New World is Coming. In the hearts and dreams and desires and deeds of many of us, it is already taking shape. It is always and everywhere about SHARING. It is de-structured. But it is NOT about destruction! It is always creating, yet never holding onto a particular form. Responding, supple, attentive.

To live spiritually in and for the New World Coming, we need to engage in two things, it seems. First, all who wish to thrive will constantly gain skills of Spiritual Practice. Yes, there are certain ways to access and discover the Spirit(s). This takes time, care, focus. These things are learned, like the discipline of learning a musical instrument or the playing of a sport. We spend time with certain gestures, exercises, ways of breathing and moving and watching, activities of mind and body. We use our physical actions and the caressing pulse of our souls to shape the time and space where we find ourselves. As we continue in the path of practice, we carve out sacred temples in our lives: sources and locations of energy for making our own Way through the difficulties and uncertainties which are so often before us. A line from the Tao Te Ching puts this simply: “in meditation, go deep in the heart.” All the details of Spiritual Practice are this single admonition, lived out in various ways.

The second is the skill of Discernment. This entails learning how to see, to watch, to wait, to move wisely, to utilize energy rather than to be overwhelmed or troubled by what we encounter. Again, the Tao Te Ching speaks of this eloquently, yet only suggestively, when speaking of the knowledge and appearance of the ancient masters: “Watchful, like someone crossing a winter stream. Alert, like people aware of danger.” This also requires learning to see more than the surface. In both personal and social realities, what is apparent to the senses is only a portion of what is actually present. Discernment guides us to see by looking through the external, to the Inner, the Deep, the Real.

All this takes discipline. Not in the sense of the word’s verbal meaning, to “punish.” But in its original sense, of the ability to learn. Discipline means, for spiritual learners, to build rhythms, patterns, actions, stillness, into our lives, so our own spirit-power is nurtured, made conscious, and utilized, to bless and to heal, to protect and to build. A discipline is a field of learning; spiritual discipline means to plow the fields of the social world, the universe, and our own souls, and live from the deep connection between them. A disciple is a student; one who knows how to learn.

May we look for and listen to the Spirit(s). And find our way to greater learning, together, with the guidance of the Unseen. “Stand before it and there is no beginning. Follow it and there is no end. Stay with the ancient Tao. Move with the present.”

O Holy Solstice Night! The shortest day has now passed, its lovely light bringing brief but bountiful blessing. Now we savor the long and languorous evening, the deepening and deepest Dark. And here we find rest, comfort, the silent caress of your sacred embrace. A Most Sacred Time; bathing those who waken to it in wondrous deep quiet. Care for all, beyond description, emerging from the soundlessly singing stars, our undescribeable, unremembered, yet powerful dreams, still dwelling within. The bliss of unspoken union, when not-seeing brings awareness, objects and moments blend together, and we “see” their constant unity, beneath and within the distinctions and differences made “apparent” in the light. We feel in your Darktime, and see more deeply than physical eyes perceive. All these, and more, beyond our signs and sights, are your gifts to us, O Holy Solstice Night! Praise to you, Queen of all Evenings, Monarch of Fullest Darkness! Your often-hidden throne comes forth! Glory to the Sacred Darkness!

In this season of Earth’s turning, as the days have approached this Holy Day and Night, I have savored more than in any Sun-year I have yet known, the Beauty of Darkness. As the dark grew and the nights lengthened over these past months, as summer waned and autumn advanced, as the fruits from the trees changed in the markets and the energy flow and tasks of work and life shifted, I sensed, more and more, the Beauty of Darkness. As the outer world convulsed, and the Empire trembled, and manifested its dying groans, its vile injustices, its post-capitalist pathways birthing, the Dark peoples of the Planet, the struggling ones everywhere of every tribe and tongue, sang and cried and marched. And again, more and more and more, there arose the Beauty of Darkness. Natural rhythms, rising souls, new songs and old anthems, all converged in my own consciousness, and the Beauty of Darkness was more and more apparent. Its Beauty, but also its silent unquenchable Power.

Being attentive to Nature’s ways, the steady growth and shared dance of light and dark, night and day, rain and sun, rising and falling, is essential to all spiritual growth, empowerment, and ascending soul-progress. The path we tread, while in this physical form, is always on the Earth, in its turnings and flowings, its spinning around the Sun and through the Infinite Cosmos. As we walk with discernment, and delight in what is under our feet and over our heads, we can savor the steady shifts of cycles and circles of time on this Homeland we all share. The coming and going of Sunlight and Nighttime; tree leaves emerging, changing color, and then falling to the ground; our rising up and lying down, going out and coming in; life’s basic rhythms, in their simplicity and constancy; all becomes known for what it always is: a deep power, much stronger than the time-clocks and ill-perceived necessities of external forces, of dominating demands, of apparent humanly-constructed “greatness.” What appears so important in our schedules and our scurrying after externals fades before the wondrous discovery which comes in our movement with the dark and the light. We are in tune with the silent music of the Universe! And it moves, and comes to fruition, in us and around us, constantly, consistently, unfailing, every blessing, ever blessed.

Such are the further gifts of this Holy Solstice Night! Time, time, time! Not slipping away, not lost or gained. But rather a turning, a steady deepening, a lifting and releasing. As time turns, as the Earth turns, as the Sun and other Stars shine, and then fade, only to return and fade again, we see our cycling in time as a growing through time. As time circles from year to year, day to day, moon phase to moon phase, our souls expand and open – if we listen and observe.

This year, numbered as 2014 in the reckoning some use for counting, this Holy Solstice Night and the New Moon arrive together. Both holy lights which bathe our planet, one shining with fullest light during each Day, the other reflecting from its sacred stones during the darktime each Night, are at their darkest ebb.

Thus, Holy Darkness has blessed us with a double-caress. All journeying so far has brought us to tonight’s doubled darkness. Darkness cares for us twice! It reaches its peak, doubly, all at once. Not a loss or a lack. No! Darkness this Holy Night is silent assurance, readying us for richer sleep, sustenance unseen, Uncreated Deep, now known in Holy Time.

As Darkness flows and fills time and space to its height, after this Night, slowly, daily growing, noticeable yet never sudden, will come the Light. But for now, let us taste of the Beauty of Darkness, and know that as Light grows, Dark is ever-present, nurturing the seeds in the soil of the burgeoning beautiful yet-coming future.

O Holy Solstice Night! We are grateful that you, and the nights before you which have led to you, have taught us well: to walk wisely and watchfully on the Earth. And to trust and savor the Beauty of Darkness.

Here, since little introduction is needed, is a post from a long-time friend, James Oscar. Since he’s given me permission to do so, I offer his recent testimony in Montreal here on this blog. His speech and heart will make plain who he is. His response to past and recent spirit-movements, killings, and deaths, is worthy of our contemplation.

THE STORY OF THE HOLE BY JAMES OSCAR : DELIVERED AT HANDS UP DON’T SHOOT SOLIDARITY MARCH IN SOLIDARITY MONTREAL FERGUSON – MICHAEL BROWN MARCH REGARDING VICTIMS OF RACIAL PROFILING NOV 29, 2014 Thank you for having me. I am here today to speak about a timeline, a timeline that goes from Dec 24, 1968 to the very present moment. On December 24, 1968, my uncle was murdered in cold blood by a policeman on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. His murder was the result of one policeman’s jealousy over my uncle’s girlfriend, the result of abuse of power, and the result of complete impunity. This police officer was acquitted. This cold blooded murder remains one of the stains on the nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Calypsos and much talk have been written about this murder.It has become a tarnished part of folklore. My family went into exile, as result of this murder. I thought the story would stop there. In 1987, I was at the scene of the aftermath of the murder of Anthony Griffin by a policeman, here in cold blood at a police station I delivered newspapers to, here in Montreal. Anthony Griffin was one of those guys I saw around the neighbourhood. Anthony Griffin’s murder in Montreal, remains one of the emblematic initial symbols of police cold blooded murder in our nation. I thought the story would stop there. I spent my whole childhood scared to death of police. I cried the day I got into university in Toronto and could leave this place behind. As I said, I thought the story would stop there. Are there certain anchors that follow us or are we just living in a nation of lawlessness? I thought the story would stop there. On Dec 24, 1990, exactly 22 years to the day after my uncle had been beaten to death and left to die in a cell, I was thrown up against a window by the Montreal Police on the street I walked up and down my whole life. I was on a visit back home from Toronto. Very serious guns were drawn against me and I was shoved into a squad car. I was racially profiled. I was accused of a very serious crime I did not commit. I sat in a cell for 9 hours. The psychological implications are serious even in such a short period. I began to descend a very frightening hole. I SAT IN A CELL IN THE VERY POLICE STATION I DELIVERED NEWSPAPERS TO MY WHOLE CHILDHOOD UP UNTIL THREE YEARS BEFORE! From 1968 to 1990 to present. THIS ALL IS A STORY OF A HOLE- woman and man’s greatest fall from the common link, into a hole into further and further disgrace. We all at times look away/ look down in shame at a ground which further and further opens. Many of us are not brave enough to jump into this hole ( of the break of our union) . We often look at the gaping chasm- awed, disillusioned, and trying to find ways to patch the hole while only some decide to report and speak about it (the hole). The hole widens, the illusion grows, the masses yawn and many begin to also not see a hole , not even seeing the patched up land (which covers the hole). The break of the union leaves that hole. The hole begins to be there for time immemorial and more often than not, people walk right near to it, people walk right next to the hole – forgetting that below this patch (which hides the hole) hides -a-history, that this patch hides a history of a break, a history of woman and man’ s refusal to accord history. The patch hides woman and man’s proper reflection. One looks at this growing machinery set in motion to preserve the forgetting of the hole, to group, the nation’s people, to “train”, indoctrinate and feed the principle of revisionism. The hole is hidden, a revisionism is put into practice, the nation comes to placate and protect the lie of the hole at all costs. There are different groups that approach the hole. Many come to memorialize the hole- but their memorial to the hole that broke the union (of civilization) is quiet and subdued but yet with beautiful convictions. There are others who do not even see such tributes and refuse to acknowledge that a hole had ever been there. There is yet another group- yes these OTHERS decide the tributes to the hole created in the fabric of their civilization MUST BE GREATER, LOUDER, MORE PRONOUNCED, MORE OF A FIGHT TO STOP THE DAILY WAR OF SOULS. THESE ARE THE BEAUTYFUL ONES! For the hole and the denials it sets in motion become small ticks, extra motions,and even exaggerated absurd movements. Many as I succumb to the SILENCE OF GENERATIONS regarding the hole. Why reel in surprise, why swallow the hot buttery bullet? They expect at all costs to keep us quiet, to revel in the assault, to know the will of the beating brunt against the beating brunt. TO BE SILENT IS A LUXURY OF PRIVILEGE TO BE SILENT IS A LUXURY OF PRIVILEGE TO BE SILENT IS A LUXURY OF PRIVILEGE I have been silent since 1990. My family has been silent and this causes very serious iimplications. I AM NO LONGER SILENT! Please become one of the beautiful ones and speak openly to all people in all your walks of life about this hole at the heart of our civilization. Those who stop the daily war of souls and speak about the hole ARE THE BEAUTYFUL ONES!

After the recent refusal of the (in)”justice” system in the United States to charge two police officers for obvious murders of unarmed black males, as a spirit-seeker who yearns for justice and transformation, I am left saddened, angered, pained, and yet energized. The Spirit of the Nation remains deeply ill. The way we treat each other, on the surface and on a daily basis, is completely corrupt and unacceptable. And yet, under our feet, in the movement of bodies and minds, in the sobs and shouts and screams, our voices, in the inner reaches of our souls, and the flows of wind and rain, the Coming New World is being born.

Beyond this, now, I post only a poem written many years ago, by one of the finest wordsmiths our land ever nurtured: Langston Hughes. He expressed, in a former time, what I and many feel now: America is a broken promise. But yet, it will be. There is no better song, for these days, than this:

Let America Be America Again
Langston Hughes, 1902 – 1967

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!