Chinese Fire Walls

Trade war with China, correlating nicely with the latest hour-long private conversation between Trump and Putin.

The latter being the only party to benefit from this debacle.

You hope that the world understands that it isn’t a U.S. policy – it’s actually a Russian policy implemented by the toady in the White House.

Random Acts of Grace

While the material aspects of existence have been troubling, over the last four months I’ve had sublime experiences in the spiritual realm.

Since starting hypnotherapy full-time in January, the practice has been a financial disaster. I won’t go into the details, except to say that it appears that destiny is testing my commitment. By stretching out my credit cards and pulling down my 401(k), I should be able to make it through to September, at which point I’m going to have to throw myself on the mercy of strangers.

But hypnotherapy is only a metaphor for the greater work, and having freed myself from the projections of anger and greed contingent upon my employment, what emanates from me now stimulates grace-filled events.

When walking to Ecstatic Dance LA on Easter, a drunken youth waiting with three friends at a bus stop calls upon me for a blessing.

During a conversation with a new friend, I ask if she would mind if I projected the song she had offered to play for me. It resonates powerfully on the right side of my mind, and my female friends in the office building whisper and bow their heads to me the next day.

Having overcome the political cabal that has sought to suppress my business, female friends start showing up at Dance Tribe on Sunday. In the early morning hours, I have a terrible dream about trying to research hypnotherapy on the web. While one of them waits in the background as a passive support, I can’t type the terms into the search box. Another female presence tries to push me toward her, but I cry out to heaven, “Father! Help me! I can’t do it any more!” I wake up and announce to the air “You’re just trying to beat me down,” while I fix my attention on the female Chinese hypnotherapists that had set up the scenario.

And again today at Ecstatic Dance LA, where on Easter I first called the Tree of Life from the center of the floor. A graceful young beauty appears for the first time. She assumes that I’m trying to seduce her until I project that I’ve got far more important things to worry about. We skirt each other for two hours until the end of the dance, when I hold space for her as she winds herself into my energy. Assured, I reach down and raise the Tree of Life over the gathering. While I project the broad canopy from my outstretched palms, she starts to dip toward the floor before flinging her arm imperiously upward. And suddenly my heart cracks open and I scream in grief – two long agonizing cries before I realize that multitudes of men are escaping my heart. Men that died for love, now seeking healing among the leaves.

I guess that I’ve got your attention, ladies. What happens next?

Politics and Faith

The Universal Church has a number of forum posts on the proper role of professional ministry in polities. The latest dialog began this week. Here is my response:

Spirituality is the negotiation of the boundaries between the “I” and the “we.” Culturally we have two manifestations of that process. Religion attempts to merge us back into the Unconditional Love from which we emanated. Politics seeks union under conventions promulgated by human law.

It may not seem that those two things are contradictory, but they are. Unconditional Love is permissive – it does not pass judgment (“God sends his rain to fall on the good and evil alike.”), reserving its agency to healing those wounded by evil. Law is repressive – it defines what is allowed, and deploys agents to prevent and punish transgressions.

The proper role of religious authority in politics is then as follows: When asked for a political opinion, ask: “What wrongdoing motivated this policy? How can we heal those so wronged? If that healing is accomplished, do we still need this policy?”

It should be noticed that in excluding politics, people of faith can testify without ambiguity that it was the inspiration of Divine Authority that allowed them to achieve their goals.

I note that the most impressive confrontations in the Bible are with people of faith before political leaders. Moses, Elijah, Daniel, and Jesus and the Apostles themselves are all inspiration examples. In our day examples include Gandhi and MLK Jr.

Ponzi Crime Spree

Watching Trump and his legal team (led by William Barr) go about their business, I can’t figure out the end game. They are trying to run out the statue of limitations on tax and insurance fraud by committing obstruction of justice and ignoring Congressional subpoenas? It’s crimes piled on crimes, sucking in more and more people every day, like some kind of Ponzi scheme in reverse.

What do the Russians have on Trump? On Barr? On the Republican Party? Why are people lining up to go to jail?

Papa Bear is not a Bridge Player

The conservative media is playing up the notion that “No Trump” means that the Mueller investigation was a witch hunt.

The fact is that collusion with Russia has been proven in the Trump campaign – people have pled guilty and gone to jail for it.

Papa Bear picked those people to run his campaign. Even if he wasn’t guilty of collusion himself, he acted consciously to prevent the investigation from proceeding. He admitted on national TV that he fired James Comey because the Russia investigation was a “made-up thing.” That has been disproven.

Whether he is guilty of obstruction is unclear – he can always claim that he was simply acting based upon information provided by others. But you would have to be pretty clueless to believe that Trump didn’t knowingly hire a whole team of people that colluded with Russia, all while pursing a major and highly lucrative real-estate deal with Moscow, all while hiding tax returns that will show proof of collaboration in Russian money-laundering.

William Barr’s first act as Attorney General was to force the Mueller investigation to a close, and then give the President a clean bill of health. The Trump team and conservative media are on a full-court press, following Karl Rove’s dictum that “a lie told often enough eventually becomes the truth.”

And I recall the words of Revelation 13:

Who is like the beast? Who can stand up to him?

Woe unto you, America! This is no accident – this is a (P)Resident Evil.

Devotion

So I took the big leap in January, quitting my job to practice hypnotherapy. I have a many-layered plan for building clientele, but after a month have managed to bring only a single person in for sessions. I was sitting in my office yesterday, holding my head in my hands and laughing in bewilderment, thinking “Why is it so hard to bring love into the world?”

I understand that part of the reason is that I don’t have a woman to vouch for me. When a single man projects love into mixed company, the message is often misinterpreted.

Realizing that I was in overload, I took the afternoon off to sit with a tea latte at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and read some more articles in “Dream Cultures” (Shulman and Stroumsa eds.). I was interrupted by a visit from one of my yoga instructors – we entered into a deep conversation on Revelation and maternal morality.

After she left I came across this in an article on medieval Muslim dream culture. The dreamer is a woman who served as the conduit for her husband’s teaching ministry. This dream is a personal message to her, however:

Again I heard a voice calling me from the bottom of the tree: can you make a pledge to protect this tree so that no hand would touch it? Then this tree is yours. Its roots have stood in sand and soil; many hands have touched it, and its fruit became worthless, then rotted and dried up. But now we have placed the rock around it, and we have nominated a bird over it, to watch over the fruit of this tree. Look!

The bird hopped upwards, climbing from branch to branch; whenever it perched on a dry branch, which looked like dry pegs, it became green and moist, and bunches of grapes hung down from it. The voice said: If you protect this tree faithfully the bird will reach the top of the tree and the whole tree will become green; if not, the bird will stay here, in the middle. I said: I will; indeed, I will protect it!

Even now I weep reading these words. This is what my heart has been craving! To find such a partner for my life!

Science

Science is the well-spring of technology, and we live today in a world defined by technology. The power delivered to us by science has given us to believe that it is the well-spring of truth. In fact, while scientists focus on differentiating truth from untruth, the importance of science lies elsewhere. Part of it lies in the strategies used by scientists, and the impact it has on their personalities. The primary value, however, lays in the assurance that science provides when we use it to project the consequences of cultural investment.

To re-iterate: science is the process of developing languages that accurately model objective reality – or those phenomena that we believe we can present to another for independent examination. In our discussion of objective reality, we recognized that objective phenomena are variable. One of the impediments to organized science is achieving a consensus regarding which parts of experience are significant. In other words: What aspects of the variable experience do we believe are essential to apprehension of the shared experience?