Tuesday, December 7, 2010


“If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice,” said the 13th century mystic Meister Echart, and he was correct. Gratitude is a powerful creative act. It is less an ending to a successful transaction and more the seed planter for all the exchanges of energy that follow it. Gratitude is proactive. When I feel it, I am not thanking any god or goddess, the way one would send a thank you note, I am declaring that right now, before anything has come to pass, I choose to stand in an attitude of arms-wide welcoming to a new reality. Being grateful in advance, embodies the new state or condition I am inviting, to allow it and lay down a carpet of thanks.

And so I am grateful for the great good present, but sleeping in the collective consciousness of the USA, even as I seek to awaken it to a greater flourishing. I gratefully release the following blocks to our goodness, knowing that our good will then manifest.

According to the Monitor, the US now accounts for 75% of NATO defense spending, up from just under half a decade ago, and still going up. Are we getting our money’s worth? Do we want to spend our money on this or something else?

Something else: in both two year and higher earned degrees, we have dropped from our formerly dominant position to 18th of 35 nations with the largest economies. We are the only nation of this group that is not increasing the percentage of degree holders. This impacts our ability to compete worldwide and even to take care of ourselves. 53% of future jobs will require an AA degree or higher. Yet only 68.8% of our youth are graduating from high school, with only 40% directly entering college, and 27% earning a 4 year degree.

In the recent election, Oklahoma voters gave what Leonard Pitts described as, “emphatic approval to a measure outlawing Sharia law – a strict and often brutal interpretation of Islamic religious strictures – in state courts. Sharia is not known to be a problem in Oklahoma, or anywhere else in the US, something even the bill’s backers concede.

“We move through a perilous time that demands serious consideration of serious issues, but we, profoundly unserious people that we are, fret instead about saving Oklahoma from Sharia law, solving a problem we do not and will not have,” while the serious problems go a-glimmering. “Thoughtful people ought to be alarmed.”

Who benefits from this state of affairs, from the status quo? How is it this small minority manages to keep the rest us at bay, losing ground while they prosper at our expense, and we could all, together, build a world that works for everyone and everything?

“One recalls,” Pitts says, “how Bush stood beneath a banner that crowed of a victory against terrorism. But to the degree Oklahoma accurately reflects our national mindset, it is the terrorists [and their domestic fear-mongering allies found more in one party than the other] who deserve to hoist that banner. America is scared stupid. Mission accomplished.”

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