The Power and Strength of Bearing Witness🙏❤

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Pray with me today – May I have eyes that see the best in people, a love that forgives the worst, and a soul that never loses faith in the hopeful and limitless possibility of others. Today may I have the courage to remain open and vulnerable. May I once more have the compassion to listen deeply into the depths and pain of another’s heart.

 

A witness assures that our stories are heard, contained and transcend time. Experiences in my own life and in my practice as a counselor and minister have caused me to concur with Maya Angelou that, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” But what produces the power and strength of witnessing, for the teller and often for the witness as well? How exactly does bearing witness benefit an individual? How is it reparative to us? And how do we, as fellow human beings help others bear nearly unbearable experiences?

 

Bearing witness is a term that, used in psychology, refers to sharing our experiences with others, most notably in the communication to others of traumatic experiences. Bearing witness is a valuable way to process an experience, to obtain empathy and support, to lighten our emotional load via sharing it with the witness, and to obtain catharsis. Most people bear witness daily, and not only in reaction to traumatic events. We bear witness to one another through our writing, through art, and by verbally simply sharing with others.

 

From a psychological perspective, it is widely confirmed in the literature on the treatment of survivors of trauma, sexual abuse, and incest that validation in the course of and bearing witness is vital and necessary in remembering traumatic memories and in the healing process. And what about a story that remains unacknowledged? Does our story hold the same weight, the same significance, in the absence of a witness? Is our reality different, less meaningful perhaps, if we have no one to bear witness? If no one empathically listens to the story of our life? It seems so.

 

Sometimes an experience is so profound, there are no words, and we endure in silence. Yet, the emotional price of remaining silent, without a witness, is costly. Move past your inaction, don’t waste more years to share what you feel and what has transpired in prolonged silence. Sometimes the harboring, that is our greatest burden.

 

And what about our experience of bearing witness in counseling? Trauma survivors often cite the importance of the therapist’s validating role in their treatment; the simple act of accepting an individual’s life story can be highly therapeutic. While bearing witness is vital in the therapeutic recovery from trauma, we all have our stories to tell, even in the absence of trauma. I fondly recall the gratitude I have felt toward my own witness, whom I often refer to as an exceptional “memory keeper” and a “remarkable witness.” A witness to the story of my life, with all of its pain and joy. Sharing ourselves with others opens up a space where there once was none. Only through such space can positive memories occur and resilience prevail.

 

Although the tale of human experience is certainly universal, it contains unique elements for each us and we continue the art of storytelling, both verbally and nonverbally, each and every day. While some stories are sweeter than others, all long for the benefit and necessity of a witness, for a witness assures us that our stories are heard, contained, and transcend time; for it can be said that one is never truly forgotten when one is shared and carried in the hearts of others.

 

I would like to introduce Don Ritchie, the now deceased, “Angel of the Gap,” and one of my many unsung heroes. Mr. Ritchie is someone who gave living meaning to the term ‘Bearing Witness.’

 

For nearly five decades he gazed out of his Sydney home overlooking the Pacific Ocean, inspired by one of Australia’s most picturesque views. But it was not just a love for the sea that drew him to the dramatic panorama.

 

Don Ritchie’s window-watching had a far greater purpose. Since l964 he saved at least 160 lives, though some say the true figure is much higher. Mr Ritchie, who died two years ago at the age of 86, was known as the Angel of the Gap, a title earned for persuading people not to throw themselves off the notorious Australian suicide spot.

 

Like Beachy Head on the Sussex coast, the sheer cliffs at the mouth of Sydney harbour have long acted as a magnet to those who have lost all hope. But thanks to his calm voice and sympathetic manner, Mr Ritchie offered a helping hand to the desperate by engaging them in conversation on the cliff-top in their hour of need.

 

A modest man who did not court celebrity or praise, Mr Ritchie would spot would-be suicides from his home and slowly walk across the road to them. At the cliff-edge he would simply smile and ask them, “Can I help you in some way?” More often than not the quiet approach worked, though on some occasions he risked his own life by physically restraining the more determined from making their final leap.

 

Afterwards he would invite them back to his home for a cup of tea and a chat and occasionally they would return years later to thank him for saving their life. One survivor gave him a painting of an angel with the rays of the sun and the simple message: “An angel who walks amongst us.”

 

My ambition has always been to just get them away from the edge, to buy them time, to give them the opportunity to reflect and give them the chance to realize that things might look better the next morning,” he once confided.

 

“You just can’t sit there and watch them,” he added. “You’ve got to try and save them.”

 

Mr Ritchie’s daughter, Sue, said her father enjoyed his ocean view, but was equally determined to watch out for troubled souls. He once said an offer of help “was all that was needed to turn people around and he would say not to underestimate the power of a kind word and a smile,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

 

He was “a great mixture of strength and compassion… an everyday person who did an extraordinary thing for many people that saved their lives, without any want of recognition,” she added.

 

Mr Ritchie was a seaman in the Royal Australian Navy during the Second World War and witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay in l945.

 

Back in Sydney he worked in the insurance industry. He would later tell friends of the people he had saved: “I was a salesman for most of my life and I sold them life.”

Truth Statements

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There is no going back once the lid on the box of deep personal insight has opened. Like a butterfly trying to return to its cocoon, a place that used to be all it knew, what was once warm and comforting, now seems small, toxic and claustrophobic.

 

Destructive habits, emotions and relationships operate, manifest, and thrive in the unconscious ecology of projective experience. Shining the light of awareness onto our destructive tendencies and taking responsibility is rewarding, and revealing but facing the truth of self-deception comes with a requisite amount of pain and resistance to change.

 

As painful as self-sabotaging behaviors can be, the allure of the known and familiar seems far too often to have an almost magnetic appeal.

 

Sometimes there is simply no happy medium, no way to have your cake and eat it too, meaning it is simply impossible to live having both the wisdom of introspection and the destructive relationship or habit. It’s going to simply be one or the other. One option is to return to the cocoon, to the familiar pain, and the other option is a vast space of endless possibility.

 

Don’t be afraid to step over the line, a demarcation, a personal rite of passage – to leave the destructive relationship, habit, and emotion once and for all. Cold turkey. This is called a moment of truth. We encourage our friends and clients to find a destructive tendency or even relationship and to make a truth statement.

 

A truth statement is a powerful intentional statement. A truth statement is a promise to never return to the former aspect of our lives that we unconsciously manifested. Never again.

 

An example of a truth statement is Gandhi’s or the the Dalai Lama’s truth statement of non-violence (ahimsa). Under no circumstance will I ever commit violence to another. Personal truth statements are very powerful – serious business; Not for the meek. When you gather your courage and fortitude, examine the destructive tendencies and relationships in your life. I urge you to make a few truth statements every year. Some relationships or tendencies simply are not manageable. They have to be severed and cut off. No looking back. Game over. When we can no longer bear the weight of our own justifications; when our rationalizations have become intolerable.

 

Life is in the present and ahead, so be brave and make the space, an allowance for personal transformation: “this time I’ll reenter into my life and world consciously, I’m done with the pain.”

Next act, next episode please. It’s time to move on now.

Facing Yourself

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One by one clients (soon to be friends) come into my space – lovely people, often hurt, scarred and wounded, but all of them, without exception are on a path to healing and self-discovery. In the beginning they point the finger of responsibility at their husbands, their wives, former lovers, their friends, co-workers and enemies. I’ll listen for awhile, gather the larger picture, and then pause the conversation.

 

From a childhood filled with hurt and anger I empathize. I’m all too familiar with blaming others and circumstances for my problems. It was a waste of energy then, and it would certainly be a waste of energy now – too conscious, too aware. Self-deception doesn’t last long these days. Like everyone, I’m fallible and human, prone to error and mistakes. I listen with this ear, with this understanding – that we are in process. We are unfolding and the pain that we experience is the medium that brings us to awareness.

 

We will never arrive at an understanding of ourselves by blaming another for our darkness. They may not be grateful, they may have lied, cheated, deceived and worse. They also are not likely willing to face themselves. No matter. If you want to grow, if you want to transform, with each instance of pain – look inward. Instead people unfortunately will do almost anything to avoid facing themselves, no matter how absurd. You must look into the darkness of your own attachments, ego-clinging, and fear in order to see the light.

 

I redirect every client, as I redirect myself, every time the finger pointing goes outward – bring it back. You alone are ultimately responsible for your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. You alone are responsible for your happiness. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, as your reality is a projection of your own. Inoculate yourself to the speech and actions of others by looking inward, and you will no longer be the victim of unnecessary suffering.

 

Looking inward is no easy task – you’re the one in the frame, so it’s hard to see the picture. Often people are so busy, that even if they have the tools, they don’t bother to utilize them. Lost in the hustle of their own busyness while their lives fall apart around them. Overwhelming at times. When you’re ready to slow down, when the blame game stops working, when you’re ready to face yourself, the good work that you’re here for, your own transformation, will begin again.

 

As always, if you need help in seeing yourself deeply, and have the courage to reach out, we’re here. Friends on the path.

What is Realization? 🙏

  

When students ask, “What does it mean to be realized?” The answer to this age old deeply introspective question is always the same – realization is the realization of anatta or “not-self.” 

You can try and unpeel as many layers of flesh and psyche as you wish – a self will never be found. There is only what we refer to as the nominal “I,” which is the name given (eg: Michael) to this changing mass of physicality, thoughts and emotions called yourself. 

This is of immense practical psychological and spiritual importance because it puts so much of suffering in perspective – without an inherently existent “I,” it’s more than fair to ask at any moment who is experiencing the suffering of existence – hurt, pain, health issues, aging and death. 

If realization is the profound discovery that there is no intrinsic or inherent self than what is it that we seem to be experiencing each day as we walk around purchasing things, desiring things, getting upset? What is this? This is called self-deception.

If you are not realized, then by default you are probably so deluded and hypnotized by either the grandeur or the pain of your own ego that you actually think that you’re real. At the deepest levels any pain that you experience is only showing you what still remains to be explored.

The revelation that there is no hidden mover or ghost in the machine called “yourself,” is immensely freeing. With regard to the “how to,” or the methodology to achieve this paramount of realizations you’re invited to attend in-person or live on-line every Wednesday from 6-8 pm EST. For more information contact Davitamoodley@gmail.com 

Enjoy🙏

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Present Moment Love❤️ 

  
 

Perhaps our dreams are there to be broken, and our plans are there to crumble, and our tomorrows are there to dissolve into todays, and perhaps all of this is all a giant invitation to wake up from the dream of separation, to awaken from the mirage of control, and embrace whole-heartedly what is present. 

My life is a passing succession of events, just like yours. Only I have detached and see the passing show as a passing show….

Friends, appearances do not bind the mind, attachments bind the mind. Cut through your attachments…

You are not your name, where you are from your race, country, religion or gender…

You are not your thoughts or feelings…

Relax your attachments and your sorrows will become unmasked. Joy is all that will remain.

Cling to nothing. Stop fixating. Release your hopes, fears, expectations and worries. Relax into awareness without an object. 

Know the state of pure and total presence to be a very vast expanse, without center or border. All that remains when you let go is love – and that is the great secret. When this is realized you will burst into a beautiful spontaneous laughter❤️

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Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org
Nisargadatta Maharaj

Tilopa’s Instruction to Naropa 

Foster

Longchenpa

Myself

What is Karma? And the Significance of a Loving Heart❤

“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.” – Niels Bohr, Quantum Physicist

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When the Buddha was asked where does the world come from?

He replied, “That the world and the inhabitants of the world come from movements of the mind (thinking) with various degrees of conscious intention.

 

This is significant for many reasons, not the least of which is that for the first time in the history of world religions the founder of a tradition is saying that the world does not come from an outer God, divinity, or deity. In essence, that we are responsible, both individually and collectively – for ourselves. That each man is responsible for his own salvation from suffering, and deliverance to happiness and peace.

 
This is not an unimportant issue – as a young man it troubled me greatly. It was tremendously disempowering to believe that the reality that I was experiencing was coming at me and being imposed on me by some supposedly malevolent being when what I was experiencing was so very painful. Did He really work in some mysterious way? Was it really the case that everything happened for a Divine reason that was hidden from me? Only later with enough faith I would finally discover the reason in heaven?

 

Frankly, with the pain in the world that I saw I could simply not respect or admire such a spiteful being who either deplored his own creation or wasn’t strong enough or unwilling to stop the mass of suffering. And for what, because fallible human beings doubted in the existence of such pathology? If there were such a being outside of my mind, how would I know anyway?

 

I remember Wittgenstein,

 

“that which we cannot know, we must consign to silence.” I remember Nietzsche, “Is man merely a mistake of God’s? Or God merely a mistake of man?”

 
The argument for intelligent design always seemed completely preposterous to me for the simple reason that in one way or another we have to take the lives of others in order to survive. This hardly seems like the hand of an intelligent benevolent Creator. If so smart and so powerful why not come up with a more peaceful plan? Like just breathing for example?

 
These were the long ago teenage musings of a thirteen year old philosopher in the making. This new view of course transmutes the role of organized religion and the priests, but that is a small price to pay for the empowerment of each person.

 
Movements of the mind with various degrees of conscious intention is the Buddhist definition of karma. It means the world of our experience, as well as all of the people – for each of us are created solely by how we think of them. This makes us responsible for our world but also highlights the nature of conditioned illusion-like or fabricated reality.

 
Given that our reality is fabricated, and we create our world with intention, what would the best intention be?

 

I think that is best answered by Rumi:

 

 

All doubt, despair and fear become insignificant when the intention of life becomes love.

 

 
In conclusion, because you fabricate your reality what you think about matters tremendously as you will always experience the result of your thoughts, speech and actions. The reality we experience is observer dependent, meaning that we always have the possibility of reframing what we see and experience. if you think, speak and act negatively then you will get that result. Who would consciously and with any degree of intention do that? It is only wise for you to think about love it that is what you wish to see and receive.❤

 
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Mindfulness and Counseling: Tipping Sacred Cows

  

If only letting go of harmful ideas and bad habits that masquerade as virtue was easy. When you’re the one in the frame it’s hard to see the picture. From unnecessarily holding onto childhood imperatives that continue to govern our lives to superstitions that disempower us – we often live our adult lives in the shadows of unconscious and largely unintentional choices made long ago for us by family or cultural conditioning.

I hear familiar themes in sessions that under examination make little or no rational sense and often cause tremendous suffering. A familiar unconscious sequence is: “Have to keep busy,” “Time is money,” “Money is security,” “Money will make me happy.” 

So many unconscious rules of the universe that each of us carry as matter-of-facts and the way things ought to and should be – these are our sacred cows. There would be no problem except that they are often the primary culprits that cause so much friction and damage in our relationships as well serving to emotionally disturb ourselves.

 It’s tricky to push back on people’s sacred cows, to question and to challenge them. This is sensitive psychological territory and it’s easy for people to become defensive around areas where they’ve invested a lot of time, emotion and to some degree – the sacred cows have worked for them.

Religious beliefs, paranormal beliefs, all the way to fairness in sports to political affiliation and of course – racial do’s and dont’s. It wouldn’t be difficult to conclude that each of us to some degree or another is walking around as a head full of unconscious preferences and demands insistent that others and the world would be better off just acting in accordance with our truths. 

Much of mindful counseling involves discovering these patterns, the pain they have brought us and finding a way to both recognize and step out of these patterns before causing further harm. The only prerequisites I have found thus far are these: inquisitiveness, a desire for peace and an ability to laugh at oneself.

The Three Scopes 

  

The Lowest Scope Person is someone who believes that this life is all that there is. This type of person believes that reality is coming at their awareness and they are merely experiencing and trying to make sense of it. They believe that when the physical body ceases functioning that their non-material awareness/consciousness discontinues. 

The lowest scope person is generally a hedonist nihilist – meaning that they will say things like, “you only live once,” to justify focusing their lives on immediate sense faculty urges and temptations. Their ethics and morality will largely consist of doing what is legal so long as they don’t get caught – which may extend all the way to a sometimes empathetic, “I will do onto others as I would have them do unto me.” Most importantly this type of person marginally accepts the causality of thoughts, speech, and actions. 

The lowest scope person does not believe that they will experience the results of ALL of their behaviors – curiously – only some. The lowest scope person believes (and I would add without evidence) that with the material death of the body – the game is over – and consequently the way that they conduct themselves in this life is substantially different from the middling scope practitioner. Even worse this type of person may believe that there could be something beyond this life but simply doesn’t prepare for what they might find.

The Middling Scope Person prepares for the hereafter believing that when the material body dies that there is a next life and that an aspect of themselves, typically referred to as a Soul or Atman (Higher Self) continues.This person believes that their ethical actions in this life will result in their immaterial Soul being redirected to another destination (often an eternal destination with no chance of effecting a different outcome) typically referred to as Heaven or Hell. 

The middling scope person often, but does not always believe that a higher power will assess their conduct in this life and make the decision about where their Soul will eternally reside in the hereafter; Subsequently the middling scope person often moderates their ethical behavior in this in hopes/fears of this eternal outcome.

The Highest Scope Person understands awareness to be timeless. This person accepts that the reality (the world and others) that they are experiencing is being manifested from their own awareness in the form of sense faculty arising and thinking. 

The highest scope person realizes that awareness-consciousness is not material, but instead interacts (not separate from) with materiality through mental labeling or imputation. They believe that reality itself in all of its varied forms is an expression of mind. Consequently the highest scope practitioner focuses their energy in this life on living a life of ethical integrity knowing that they will experience the result of their thoughts, speech, and actions. This type of person does not blame others or the world for their troubles, instead they accept full responsibility for their lives. 

Ultimately the highest scope person with dedicated focus begins through their restrained conduct to purposefully create a life and a world of their own making – and then resides in that world. This type of practitioner realizes that even their own physical body is not separate from awareness. Consequently the highest scope practitioner believes (with good reason and direct experience) that awareness is timeless, imprintable and is and will always manifest the result of their conduct perfectly. This being’s raison d’ĂŞtre is one of compassion: to help others to stop suffering, and show them the path to enlightenment. This type of being is an Awakened One – awakened to the experience of ultimate reality and acts with generosity and compassionately in accordance with this Highest Scope.

The Middle Way – An Experiment With Reality: Emptiness, Compassion, and Quantum Physics.

Reality Doesn’t Exist Until We Measure It

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The highest philosophy of wisdom in the Buddhist tradition is known as The Middle Way. The Middle Way refers to the nature of all phenomena: that no thing exists inherently, but that isn’t to say that things don’t exist at all. Practically stated: that in any given moment things neither exist, nor do not exist, but existence itself depends on an apprehending consciousness. The middle way is the nature of all phenomena and is how all phenomena actually are in any given moment: resting on the razor’s edge between existence and nonexistence.

This supposedly difficult to realize philosophy is actually extremely pragmatic in nature and is deeply interwoven and imbued with compassion. A realized being experiences this reality directly – which is known as seeing emptiness directly.

Let’s use a practical example in hopes of better understanding and appreciating the philosophy of the Middle Way: Your car (although this same procedure could be applied to any apparent phenomena such as the appearance of your own body, house, job, illness..any apparent phenomena really).

1.) Does your car have prior causes and conditions? Of course. That demonstrates that it doesn’t have any inherent existence – it is empty of inherently being a car. Simply: it hasn’t always existed as the appearance of a car.

2.) Although you can’t see it with your eyes, you would agree that the solid appearance of the car under analytical examination is false – it’s not solid – the appearance is undergoing constant change. The appearance of solidity is an illusion; again demonstrating the emptiness – or lack of inherent existence.

3.) Could the car be subdivided into parts, and could those parts be further subdivided into parts, and so on? Exactly just how far could you take a part apart? That demonstrates again that the car does not have any inherent car-ness. So where does the car that you experience right now come from?

4.) The car – without you or others labeling it as a car, what is it really? Beyond mere words, labels, or imputations what is that appearance in the driveway really? Take away your labels and rest your gaze, rest in the awareness that whatever that appearance is in the empty driveway that functions as a car – isn’t intrinsically a car, i.e. it’s empty or lacks any car-ness.
To believe that things exist inherently is a mistaken view, the implication or consequence is that things exist upon a perceiving or apprehending consciousness labeling or imputing its reality. Simply put: without your conditioning to call things the way that you do – what are they really? They are definitely not really what you say they are, even though they may appear to function as you say.

The car does seem to get you from A to B. The thing is – you and A to B are also empty (lacking intrinsic reality) – and so is the mind fabricating these very word structures as well as the device you’re reading from now.

You may wonder where does the compassion piece fit into all of this? That’s easy actually. Think of the last time you suffered. What did you suffer for? I suspect that you suffered for something that was conceived to have had inherent existence. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or didn’t exist – that’s too extreme. We are only describing how it is you’ve suffered and that if you wanted to stop suffering where exactly you would have to look.

I am clearly suggesting that you are creating the reality of your experience with your own thinking. It would be false to conclude that nothing matters, because the opposite is what you would want to infer: it’s very important what we think, because how we think creates the very world of our subjective experience and hence our happiness and our suffering.

The sub-atomic philosophy of quantum mechanics in many ways is very helpful in describing what we experience in or near deep states of meditative absorption: the middle way between existence and non-existence. For a quick study of quantum reality read the article below on the now famous John Wheeler experiment (supplied by my partner Davita Moodley).

May you be happy, well, safe, peaceful and at ease

How to Understand the Wisdom of Peace In a World on the Verge of War


Take a moment and step back from the everyday news bombardment regarding the latest terror threat, terror alerts and other pretexts for future war. Let’s be reflective and non-reactive and examine where we are from within a wider lens.

Worthwhile Perspectives on War From the Most Unlikely Sources

My claim is simple, if you want peace, you need to know your war. It seems that many of my younger friends understandably lack the context of what it means to live in a country continuously at war and in a country whose leadership in retrospect has purposefully manufactured and manipulated consent for the United States to go to war throughout its modern history.

The questions, “Why would our political leaders purposefully lead us into war? And who benefits?,” are actually remarkably easy to understand.

Let’s begin with an excerpt from Norman Cousins’s 1987 book, “The Pathology of Power.” Cousin writes,

 

“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military–industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”

That was 1987 – long before our next enemy invention (although in all fairness the United States began grooming, arming and funding the post-modern Jihadi Taliban and Al Qaeda movements as anti-Soviet proxies during this period).

Since the fall of Communism, we have indeed invented a new convenient enemy, one that can never be beaten because it’s neither an army nor a country – it’s a mere idea, a word, a thought – and it’s called, “terrorism.”

The military budget of the United States for the 2014 fiscal year was $515.4 billion. Adding emergency discretionary spending and supplemental spending brings the sum to $651.2 billion. This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget. Overall the United States government is spending about $1 trillion annually on defense-related purposes.

If we are not already in one, we are in danger of being in a permanent war economy.

 

“Men who during war, who have tasted the powers of coercive control, may find it difficult to reconcile themselves with the humbler roles they will then have to play in peaceful times.” – Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

 

In his farewell address to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the American people to keep a careful eye on what he called the “military-industrial complex” that developed in the post-World War II years. The phrase, “military-industrial complex,” is neither conspiratorial nor a scary possibility – it’s living and it’s factual.

A fiscal conservative, President Eisenhower had been concerned about the growing size and cost of the American defense establishment since he became president in 1953. In his final presidential address to the American people, he expressed those concerns in terms that frankly shocked some of his listeners.

President Eisenhower began by describing the changing nature of the American defense establishment since World War II. No longer could the U.S. afford the “emergency improvisation” that characterized its preparations for war against Germany and Japan. Instead, the United States was “compelled to create a permanent armaments industry” and a huge military force. He admitted that the Cold War made clear the “imperative need for this development,” but he was gravely concerned about “the acquisition of unwarranted influence…by the military-industrial complex.” In particular, he asked the American people to guard against the “danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a defense-scientific-technological elite.”

Eisenhower’s blunt language stunned some of his supporters. They believed that the man who led the country to victory in Europe in World War II and guided the nation through some of the darkest moments of the Cold War was too negative toward the military-industrial complex that served as the backbone of America’s defense. For most listeners, however, it seemed clear that Eisenhower was merely stating the obvious. World War II and the ensuing Cold War resulted in the development of a large and powerful defense establishment. Necessary though that development might be, Eisenhower warned, this new military-industrial complex could weaken or destroy the very institutions and principles it was designed to protect.

Worse still, the military-industrial complex and related defense industry subsidiaries contribute heavily to incumbent members of Congress. Take the sugar coating off of that statement and a direct question is being asked for you to ponder, “Are our political leaders either too cozy or are pawns in the pocket of an industry that far too often may be short-sightedly and diametrically opposed to peace and the very welfare of our country?”

There’s nothing but hard evidence here is my claim, so “What are the names of some of these companies within this so-called military-industrial complex?”

 

“Companies that employ millions of American workers?”
Danger 101: An Ongoing War Economy: Some of America’s Largest Employers Need/Needed War as a Profit Center Just to Stay in Business:



Boeing 

General Dynamics 

Lockheed Martin Corporation

General Electric 

North American Aviation 

United Aircraft 

AT&T Corporation 

Hughes Aircraft Company 

Sperry Corporation 

Raytheon 

McDonnell-Douglass



After Our Wars – Construction and War Re-Construction is Big Business, and a Few Companies Consistently Manage to Win Supply and Infrastructure Project Contracts:

Bechtel

Halliburton Kellogg Brown and Root

Fluor

Foster Wheeler

Washington Group Intl

ABB USA

McDermott Intl

Jacobs Engineering 

Black and Veatch

Tyco

Aker Maritime

Contrack International 

Interestingly, it would be very simple to work in any of these industries and never really take stock as an employee in just what exactly the overall magnitude of violence and death that you’re involved in actually is. It is also the case that one could be a soldier, for all the right reasons, but be a cog in the wheel of something larger than what is immediately recognizable.

If you live long enough and pay just a little attention you can’t help but notice the same themes playing out over and over. After World War II and until the fall of the Soviet Union there was an idea that was fought for repeatedly without end – that idea was called Communism.

The Western world was full of hope – the year was 1991. Communism had completely collapsed. The long-awaited peace that the free world had always wanted was finally here. While the fall of communism was an extremely hopeful moment for the people of the world, there were some very painful and predictable side effects: There were layoffs at US defense contractors, there were the closing down and downsizing of armed service bases, a decreasing number of uniformed personnel – all were becoming increasingly common. Many heated debates were fought in the House and Senate about which bases would remain open as base closures were vital for many American cities viable health and survival.

For all the problems Communism created, it also provided the US with a consistently reliable source of military jobs, a firm tax base, defense contractor positions, and a large military on constant stand-by. There were always huge cost overruns, but there were also major technological achievements that came from these developments.

This was the era of the Cold War and there were continuous low to mid-level conflicts at all times from Central to South America, to Africa and the Middle East, all the way to SouthEast Asia. Enormous sums were spent on telecommunications, intelligence, space and satellite development to justify the enemy, for if there were no enemy – these sums, lives lost and energy would be both morally and financially unjustifiable.
American industry benefitted tremendously from continuous conflict. The contractors benefitted not just on the side of the war machine, but especially on the side of the construction and the reconstruction machine. Eisenhower was unfortunately right.

Whatever damage the United States did by tearing apart countries with its politics, bombs and guns it made right by turning right around and putting a friendly government in place and performing exactly the same tried-and-true routine: After overthrowing or undermining governments around the world, putting U.S. friendly governments in place – we then conveniently always helped them to rebuild. Always.

The first item on the agenda was to always have the new U.S. friendly government take out a series of loans from international banks that the U.S. and it’s close allies controlled: namely the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. There were commercial banks too, but these were the principal entities.

With US friendly leadership in place, these new governments would take out loans – specifically reconstruction and infrastructure loans. Almost all contracts for infrastructure would go to American companies, and that is how the world was geopolitically structured until the end of the Cold War. With great frequency, and conspicuously when the United States needed a specific vote at the United Nations, debt was often forgiven.

The best part of these new infrastructure loans that were made largely from the World Bank – they were made with often unreasonably long pay-back periods, but at a reasonable interest rate with this caveat: the currency the country would now use would either be the dollar or pegged directly to the dollar.

The United States was directly creating global hegemony on a scale that British colonialists from the 19th century could only envy. One consistent difficulty with this new American Century was that all of the governments that the US would put in power, all seemed strikingly opposed to the very people that they were supposed to represent. While the US was friendly with these self-created autocratic puppet governments, in most every case the people that lived under those governments understandably began to despise the United States and its self-serving foreign-policy.

From the overthrowing of the President of Iran, to the placement of Manuel Noriega in Panama, to befriending the likes of Saddam Hussein, to sustaining the brutal Saudi regime – the U.S. managed to isolate itself from the goodwill of the world for the sake of a wayward foreign policy run amok by defense, food, oil/energy, telecommunication, mining, and infrastructure contractors. All of this was financed by several very large international banks that held sway over the “free-world’s” governance through pegging US loans to the dollar as a float, without any further underlying standard.

One last item: the number of US military bases spread rapidly worldwide after World War Two to contain the spread of, “the idea of Communism.” The proportion of the U.S. economy controlled by Defense and Intelligence was sky-rocketing. The United States quickly became dependent on its Defense/War machine for its very economic survival. We became a nation that quite literally – had to be at war both to survive and justify its way of life in the eyes of more than just a few powerful interests.

Meanwhile the collateral damage were US friendly authoritarian (anti-democracy) rulers in place worldwide, millions of dead and wounded worldwide and thousands of honorable dead and wounded US soldiers.

Our future soldiers were often conscripted from high school ROTC, recruitment stations at lower-income shopping malls in rural areas, and from exciting television ads promoted at sporting events – far from the privileged class that was benefitting and pocketing from the spoils of war. Time and again the political leaders that were sending our children to die overseas evaded the very service they were now leading and had every financial and political power incentive to maintain.

To this day it amazes me that popular sporting events in our country have somehow become aligned and associated with and used as recruitment propaganda tools. Just what exactly does one have to with the other? Why are we saying the national anthem and having military jets fly overhead at stadiums? Just what exactly do football and baseball have to do with war? Why exactly do so many toys, video games and films glorify something so obscenely grotesque as modern warfare? Is there a purposeful attempt being made to familiarize, normalize and propagate war in every level of our social conscience?

Why exactly do the news channels voraciously repeat certain sensational acts of terror over and over again even though they are significantly disproportionate to the number of events taking place? Not until you leave the United States and live overseas (and I don’t mean in an Army Base or work for a contractor or work for the U.S. in anyway) would you truly discover how very weird all of this really is. We live in something of an odd container of an all-encompassing, all too-often violent sound bite news cycle.

To this day only thirty-eight percent of Americans have ever left the country and that is up substantially as of late according to current State Department statistics – simply because Americans now need a passport to travel to Mexico. Few other places are quite like the United States when it comes to violence. We are unique – something of a gladiator society. Even boxing has lost its popularity as a sport for us – it apparently has nothing compared to the latest rage: human cock-fighting. Armed to the teeth with guns – truly violence and household armaments are an incredible economic industry. Travel and you will see that the rest of the world, except where we have armed it – is anything like us at all.

From a certain perspective – much of what is taking place is well-beyond the banter of conspiracy buffs – it has simply becoming patently obvious by the oversized defense budget and the number of simultaneous low-grade continuous conflicts that are taking place. No other country comes close to what we spend on war. We dwarf all other countries – there is no arms race.

“Friendly US governments” were bought and paid for as was evidenced by almost strict uniform results of vote tallying at the United Nations along Free World-Communist lines until the end of the Cold War. It was a great time to be an investment banker on Wall Street, a lobbyist on K Street, or a politician who was under the heavy and corruptive influence of both, or a shareholder in these stable blue-chip companies. Ah, the good old days.

Well, they’re back. And they’ve been back. Perhaps there was a small hiatus between the fall of communism in 1991 and September 11, 2001 but we have a new idea to fight and it’s much more elusive than the old one. This new elusive enemy is called “Terrorism,” and it is a convenient idea but can never be beaten, but will always keep us employed. We can only kill terrorists but we can never beat an idea called terrorism. We are being sold a very deadly bill of goods. The war machine is back, the reconstruction and construction machines are back. The banks are back. And they’re all back with a vengeance.

There will be no end to this greed, there will be no end to this corruption until we as a society are educated, fed up with the fear and propaganda from select news, fed up with war, and begin to truly reevaluate our economy and transition it to peace.

There will always be a bomb that goes off here, a bomb that goes off there, there will always be a pretext for the next arms shipment, proxy war or invasion.

Realistically the Middle East hasn’t looked any less spiritually difficult for thousands of years. The only thing that’s different now, is the location of oil. Religion is a pretext. Clash of civilizations is a pretext. We are not stepping into a war with ISIS – we are just about to step into another war with a deception – a machine that cannot be seen, until you step back and see the wider context in which you are being asked to fight once more. Step back from the thirty second propaganda sound bites of breaking news. Get a birds eye view. There are larger forces at work.

We were never attacked by the people of of Afghanistan or Iraq, yet we’ve been at war with them for 15 years. We have never been attacked by Syria but we are being prepared to go and fight an enemy that appears we have largely created and tailor made to meet our war economy once again. The wisdom of peace is to not play into or at least minimize your part in this money and blood thirsty cycle of violence and never-ending war.

Paul Wolfowitz was conveniently nominated by George W. Bush to head the World Bank after the Iraq war was declared Mission Accomplished, and if you were in the Bush Administration, to some degree the mission in 2004 was indeed accomplished: a new friendly US government was in place, reconstruction had begun, the loans and the contracts were flying. And the oil was said to be flowing once more. From beginning to the end none of this was true. Literally trillions of dollars were erroneously and surreptitiously spent on a war to find non-existent weapons of mass destruction. The United States destroyed and then ineptly tried to rebuild Iraqi society – by all accounts a complete failure unless you were part of the machine that profited.

Truly a disgusting waste of human lives and a breeding ground was all that remained for the very worst of Saudi funded Wahhabist extremists to thrive in.
In Afghanistan, outside of attacking a few tented terrorist camps in Kandahar and a few caves at Bora Bora most of Al Qaeda had melted into Pakistan and beyond. New oil leases are ready to be exploited in the disputed Syrian Israeli-held Golan Heights and just offshore are thought to be some of the biggest reserves in the world.

Americans won’t be fooled by a simple oil pretext again, but perhaps a murderous group of Christian killing Islamist extremists might do the trick, that might be just enough pretext to ignite our war machine into full gear once more. And of course, Syria will need to be rebuilt after the fall of Assad. If you want to understand what we’re getting into, and how we might avoid another round of pain – follow the money, not the pretext for war.

In conclusion I leave you with a final gift as I attempt to coerce you toward the more noble aspirations of peace and love – from the Nuremberg diary of American prison psychologist G.M. Gilbert and his interviews with one of the chief architects of the The Third Reich and Commander of the Lufftwaffe, Hermann Goering:

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, “I did not think the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.”

 

“Why of course the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally the common people don’t want war, neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a Democracy, a Fascist dictatorship or a Parliament, or a Communist dictatorship.”

“There is one difference,”I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only the Congress can declare war.”
“Oh that is all well and good,” Goering replied, “but voice or no voice the people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

 

Since World War II the United States has been in an almost continuous state of war and this is exactly how many times Congress has used the War Powers Act: Zero.

The people’s wish for peace are being circumvented by powerful lobby’s and interests, we are being sold a bill of violent goods through the pretext of a War on Terror. If you want peace you must see through the mirage, you must speak up – silence is the hidden enabler of violence. It is patriotic to want peace.

It is patriotic to want an end to the violence and destruction. It is human and it is humane to wish to leave this world a better place than we found it for our children and for our environment. Each of us is responsible to find our voice of peace and love.

May we be happy, may we be well, may we be safe, and may we peaceful and at ease. May we find peace within and may there be peace in our world.