Saturday, March 22, 2014

My Name is Mr. Duality

[From Michael Z. [] “Last week my business website was hacked, my site was taken down, and my account was suspended. For hours, while I lost revenue and customers, I pleaded, begged and threatened my hosting company's technical support…. After it was all over, I was a wreck. Later that evening I wondered why I hadn't brought God into it and why I hadn't worked my program.
“What I realized is that fear is still the chief activator of my character defects, and prime among them is fear of losing something I have or of not getting what I demand…. Thankfully everything was resolved in a few hours, but for a while I was alone and spiritually vulnerable.
 “As I reflect back on the experience, I'm amazed by how quickly I can abandon my program when I'm in fear [or anger]…. I know that alcoholism is cunning, baffling and powerful, and I'm constantly reminded that I must remain vigilant. Because even after all my time in recovery, there are some days when I say, ‘What program?’ ‘God who?’"
His message reminded me of the power of Fear. We all get fearful, and we’re seeing a lot of it now, mostly focused on politics. Both political parties use fear, usually to make a point or to exaggerate their strengths or their opponent’s apparent weakness. But the rancor of its use by the extreme conservative wing of the GOP (which the moderate Republicans refuse to tamp down) is particularly despicable – it’s purposeful, intentional, fear designed to scare older folks, fundamental Christians, and especially white men. I remember the ridiculous hysteria a year or so ago: “Don’t ratify the international treaty (based on U.S. law) that benefits the handicapped, because U.N. troops will ‘invade’ our classrooms.” U.S. senators even picked up this argument and defeated the motion to ratify. It was utterly amazing to witness how fearful senators were of their perceived ultra-conservative voter base.
The corollary to fear is anger. The two go hand-in-glove. There are many private ads now airing that are simply promoting fear and anger just for the sake of maintaining a level of fear and anger in their targeted populace.
For example, these ads use false claims and paid actors to discredit the Affordable Care Act – not that it’s perfect as it is – but all these ad-funders do is try to scare the crap out of me, make me so angry over it ‘til I’m ready to explode, and then I say to myself: “Well, what is their alternative?” I hear nothing about that. If the ad-funders don’t like ObamaCare and want it to go away – what are they proposing instead? “Pardon me, I’m listening but I haven’t yet heard your reply.”
The use of fear and anger as a motivator for political purposes is – well awful. No wonder discontent, frustration, trust in state and federal elected officials, as well as trust in business executives, has gone into the toilet.
A subscriber and friend pointed me to a book by Michael Kimmel, professor of sociology and gender studies at Stony Brook University of New York.  His book: Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era (Nation Books, Perseus Books Group, 2012). Men are terribly frightened (Kimmel calls it rage) and frustrated watching all their time-honored entitlements begin to crumble. For centuries white men have had an entire world that has been skewed to their favor. Consequently, they want to fight all entitlements to anyone but themselves – black, brown, red and Asian minorities, women, LGBT and immigrants.  In their minds, any entitlement to another means less entitlement to them. Fear, lack, anger, frustration, resentment. I hate to mention this, but, as far as I know, these are not typical family values – until recently.
As a white male, I understand all that. However, this message is not really focused on white males. What I’m referencing is the wealthy intelligent people (and their snappy PR agencies) that are purposefully fanning the flames of that fear and anger for no other purpose than to advance their political agenda. They want to keep these men scared and angry so they’ll vote for conservatives and, thus, promote a political agenda designed to wed federal and state governments with the business community. Although they will preach free enterprise, they really want nothing of the sort. They want to be the driving force of government in order to have the power to expand their empires with the full, faith, credit and power of the government behind them. But, you say, “I didn’t think business likes government interference.” They don’t like government interference unless it favors them. They want interference if it cripples their competition or provides multitudes of corporate entitlements in the form of tax advantages, government subsidies or contracts, or limited corporate liability.
So I have to ask myself, “Donnie, how are you dealing with fear?”  I try to deal with it with honesty, fairness, and integrity. If I can do that, there is nothing to hide, no “political or personal points” to make. When I see these ads or read internet communications, I try to say to myself and the ad-funders: “You’re not going to scare me. However, I will admit that if were as fearful as you, I might want to spread fear as well.” That doesn’t always work, but it does help me to keep the focus on myself and on the fact that I am really not that different from the ad-funders. That, in itself, is rather disconcerting – but honest – to say the least.
The one thing both AA and A Course in Miracles (ACIM) have taught me is that when it comes to finding serenity, peace, happiness, acceptance and love – the opposite of fear, lack, anger, frustration, and resentment – it’s always an inside job.
How I look at the world determines how the world looks to me.
I received a poem from a friend and subscriber that sums all this up. She called the poem: “Thy Name.” 
How do you
To a Master,
Profess love for
Act like a
Fight with
Your neighbor,
Belittle your son?
Duality is
Thy name.

Jeanette Zanghi, 2014 (reprinted with permission)
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.

#4 March, 2014
Copyright, 2014

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