June 2014

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Life is a sacred challenge of radical unknowability, and it will eventually push you out of this universe. But how you respond to that challenge, therein lies your divine truth, and the discovery of your eternal nature. The desert is your teacher, but your destiny is your own soul.

Marc recently appeared on the Metta Center for Nonviolence’s podcast to discuss why he feels the world is on track toward less violence.  You can read the Metta Center’s post here, or  listen to the  interview.

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Some of you have followed the intensive and life changing events this winter for my sister, and you supported me and her throughout that process. To me it was a profound spiritual awakening. I have always led a life of over-empathy that sometimes gets me into trouble. Someday I will write more on the experience. Suffice it to say now that I discovered during that time the best and worst in human nature, who disappears from your life and who appears, who are the quiet heroes of this world, and how a completely unconscious sister can inspire you on death’s door.

Here is a wonderful article about my sister from a doctor/writer on duty that night, wonderful person who is part of the amazing Mass General Hospital team that worked on my sister in those months.

One night, in February, a group of intensive-care-unit doctors and I sat down with …

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The Biblical portion of the week in the Jewish calendar, Hukat, presents an ongoing saga of Divine rage at human behavior in the “desert”. The desert is a liminal space in the ancient Jewish imagination. It represents the place of trial, of suffering, of life and death, of homelessness in search of a parent to guide, but also a place of nurturing. The desert can present a guiding light in the darkest night, and the moist cloud of dew and rain filled hope by day. But it is also a place where plagues can eat away at you, and the ground can swallow you whole.

 

All of this is God. The desert is where you can feel at once divine wrath and the divine ongoing presence that keeps you alive moment to moment in the harshest environment on earth.

 

What is suprising to most commentators about this episode …

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Philosophy and conflict resolution

by mgopin on June 23, 2014 · 0 comments

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Great conflict resolution advice!
Pascal

When we wish to correct with advantage, and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with that, for he sees that he was not mistaken, and that he only failed to see all sides. Now, no one is offended at not seeing everything; but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he cannot err in the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our senses are always true.

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Democratic experiments are capable of evolution, as long as adherents to a religion or citizens of shared societies never stop evolving, growing, recognizing the responsibility they have to use their minds constantly to interpret, to exercise their conscience, and to negotiate the best path forward to sacred and social peace.

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The crisis “would not have happened if it wasn’t for the sectarian and exclusionary policies that were practiced in Iraq in past years and which threatened its security, stability and sovereignty”, official news agency SPA cited Information Minister Abdulaziz Khoja as saying.

via Saudi rejects foreign interference in Iraq, blames ‘sectarian’ Maliki | Reuters.

This is a good opening diplomatically. We have KSA and Qatar blaming Maliki and Iran for making Iraq a sectarian debacle, we have Iran stepping in, even nonviolent Ayatollah Sistani calling the Shi’ites of Iraq to take up arms to defend themselves, we have the rest of the rational world blaming Qatar and Saudi citizens for ISIL and extremist violence of these decades, we have Iran beginning to rush in, and the USA flaunting its ever possible trump card, massive use of force, as the ‘solution to sectarians’. So now that all parties have fallen …

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/15/us-iraq-usa-security-idUSKBN0EQ0UH20140615

Graham last week said American air strikes in Iraq will be needed to halt the advance of militants.

His comments about Iran broach an even more sensitive topic – putting the United States in potential collaboration with a country it suspects of developing nuclear weapons and supporting its own militant groups in places like Lebanon.

Iranian officials, closely allied with Maliki and watchful over the Shi’ite population centered in southern Iraq, have also been alarmed at the sudden seizure of territory by the ISIL.

 

The logic of intending to bomb a country like Iran in one part of the year, and then contemplate an alliance in the next year to defend Baghdad really needs to be defined and exposed. On one level, it is perfectly reasonable. if a year ago, allies Israel and Saudi Arabia were convincing us that Iran is the primary mortal threat, then we decide to …

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Writing on his website, he said the violence was the “predictable and malign effect” of inaction in Syria.”We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that ‘we’ have caused this,” he wrote. “We haven’t.”He said the idea that the current crisis was a result of the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003 was “bizarre”.Mr Blair said the takeover of Mosul by Sunni insurgents was planned across the Syrian border.

via BBC News – Tony Blair: ‘We didn’t cause Iraq crisis’.

What amazes me is the habit of no one taking responsibility for anything in these tragedies. We have a blind eye of Western powers turned toward the Gulf and its massive funding of terrorism, polarization against Shi’ites, because they are ‘allies’. We have no responsibility for the bitterness and fear Iraqis feel from any American or Iraqi government use of force, due to the horror of overkill and abuse …

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Here is my latest from Huffington Post:

Imagine a violent world in which all means to defend yourself with violence is out of the question. No matter which way you turn the people with guns just suck. They are dangerous, unreliable, and are killing or getting killed all the time. What would you do? Especially if you were a guy, like most who do the killing in conflict. What if you were surrounded with corrupt and dangerous military on the one side and extremist rebels on the other?

No one likes to think about this reality, even though it is the more common reality of war faced by millions of people since the dawn of time. It does not fit our neat brain patterns for simplistic gut reactions. Some gut reactions always side with government and military, others side with those who are defiant and willing to fight. Everyone …

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Originally published on The Huffington Post 

Imagine a violent world in which all means to defend yourself with violence is out of the question. No matter which way you turn the people with guns just suck. They are dangerous, unreliable, and are killing or getting killed all the time. What would you do? Especially if you were a guy, like most who do the killing in conflict. What if you were surrounded with corrupt and dangerous military on the one side and extremist rebels on the other?

No one likes to think about this reality, even though it is the more common reality of war faced by millions of people since the dawn of time. It does not fit our neat brain patterns for simplistic gut reactions. Some gut reactions always side with government and military, others side with those who are defiant and willing to fight. Everyone wants an …

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