(Un Café au Caire)
Well… it looks like Friday is looming, and the month is zooming towards closure. Soon people will be heading to Burning Man, kids back to school and the fall migrations will start. The Equinox is just around the corner folks, in less than a month! Yikes!
I am looking for articles this year on Burning Man, and the changes that people see happening there, and with themselves in relationship to the festival.
More On The Way…
Swami Calls For An Up-Wising – Wise Up, Everybody The Evolution Has Begun
Poetry Of Cairo
Art: Jean-Léon Gérôme
Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.”
“I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated.”
“I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.”
“Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.”
“As I know more of mankind I expect less of them, and am ready now to call a man a good man upon easier terms than I was formerly.”
Swami Calls For An Up-Wising – Wise Up, Everybody The Evolution Has Begun
By Swami Beyondananda
For years now, we’ve been hearing “shift happens,” and wondering when, where and how. Now finally, it looks as if the shift is about to hit the fan. This is good news for all those shift fans who’ve been wondering if the new age will arrive before old age does. Of course, if you’re looking for signs in the news, you won’t find them. At least, not yet. The news might as well be called the “olds,” because the world still seems stuck in greedlock, ruled by fossilized fools fueled by fossil fuels. But I have been receiving encouraging intelligence reports that say indeed, humans are becoming more intelligent. Yes, people everywhere are wising up. And that’s great, because we could sure use an up-wising!
The evolution has begun. But before we see changes in the old needy-greedy, we humans must change our consciousness — and the first step is becoming conscious of how unconscious we’ve been. As the saying goes, the truth shall upset you free, and last year saw lots of disillusionment. But what better to free us from the far more dangerous condition of illusionment? If we want to stop the abuse of power, the first step is to disabuse ourselves. So, here’s some good news: Despite a massive media impropaganda machine that feeds the public “babblum” (strained bullshit made digestible for a simple child’s mind), more and more Americans are reading between the lyins’ and peering behind the Irony Curtain.
In 2005, Americans had to face the sad realization that the Bush Administration’s “pro-life” stance appears to be limited to the unborn and the brain-dead. Despite being panned by critics everywhere, the Iraqi Horror Picture Show continued its run, as thousands and thousands of born fetuses – ours and theirs — lost their right to life. While we may or may not have saved our face by staying there, we have most definitely lost our ass. And we’ve been assured we’ll be stuck in that morass until — well, until there’s no more ass to lose. Meanwhile, more and more Americans reached another sad conclusion: We’re not in Iraq to keep the peace, we’re there to keep the pieces.
The signs of up-wising are everywhere. Even the most unpleasant stories are beginning to break through the soundless barrier and defy the President’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy: “You promise not to ask us what we’re doing, and we promise not to tell you.” Although we’ve been inundated with “fear-gnomes” and ominously warned we have to protect ourselves in this dogma-eat-dogma world, a majority of Americans are no longer comfortable with the notion that the only way to defeat the “evil-doers” in the world is to out evil-do them. Although our President has assured us that “we don’t torture,” it is now common knowledge that we simply send detainees to countries that do torture when we want them to “testify under oaf.”
As for those progressives who’ve been whining that the President “never listens” to them, well it turns out he’s been listening all along. And thanks to the so-called Patriot Act (which, I understand, is about to be renamed the Eternal Insecurity Act), it looks like he’ll be able to listen in even more — all in the name of making us safe. But now even some Republicans are beginning to see that there’s a difference between protection and the “protection racket.” And with the recent revelations about Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff and other gold collar criminals, some of the more devout conservatives have come to realize that the “family values” they voted for bear an uncanny resemblance to Soprano Family values.
If there was any warm feeling in 2005, chalk it up to climate change. Katrina hit, and in the government’s response we saw a future when at last all Americans will be equal — where everyone regardless of race or creed will be treated like Black folks.
Alarming Policies Have Awakened Millions!
Fortunately, this is the State of the Universe Address, and from a universal perspective, things are humming along quite nicely. It turns out that the Earth is the talk of the Universe these days. In fact, the odds-makers at the Intergalactic Enquirer say the odds are actually in our favor: “We’re betting on the human race to reach critical mass before they get to critical massacre.” And we could beat the odds, if we finally gave up our addiction to getting even and got odd instead. It stands to reason. If each of us used our unique oddness to improve the odds for everyone, there would be no need for getting even.
Yes, the up-wising has begun, and intergalactic observers are saying that we have none other than George W. Bush to thank. How is that, you may ask? Well, I am reminded of a story my guru Harry Cohen Baba used to tell. A well-known minister died and arrived at the Pearly Gates at the same time as a cab-driver from New York. The cabbie was ushered in, but the clergyman was left waiting outside. After waiting and waiting and waiting, he finally called over the attending angel. “Excuse me, but I’m a renowned minister. How come you let that cab-driver in, and I’m left waiting out here?” “Well,” the angel said, “when you preached, everyone slept. But when he drove, everyone prayed.”
For millennia, spiritual teachers have been calling on us to go for the highest common denominator, but we’ve always seemed to end up with the lowest common dominator instead. And now, George W. Bush has done what preachers, teachers and other far-sighted visionaries have failed to do up until now: His policies have been so alarming, that he has awakened a slumbering body politic that slept through all previous alarms. Where others have failed, he has people all across the world praying, “God help us!” And instead of waiting for an intervention from above — after all, we cannot expect to be fed intervenously forever — people are beginning to help themselves, and even more importantly, help each other.
Sure, there are still plenty of Not-Sees out there who insist on not seeing that we humans are all in the same boat. The good news is, more and more Americans are getting that sinking feeling that there’s only one Earthship, and ignoring a leak because it’s “on the other side of the boat,” is a mistake of titanic proportions.
We Are the Leaders We’ve Been Waiting For
America, the world’s only super-power, doesn’t need a revolution. We’ve already had one, thank you. What is needed now — and what has already begun — is the American Evolution where enough of us wake up and see that those two political parties have been partying on our dime, and we the people haven’t been invited. Time to go beyond choosing the lesser of two weasels. If we want to evolve the dream of our Founding Fathers — instead of devolve into the nightmare of Big Brother — we must become the leaders we’ve been waiting for. I’ve said it before. The only force more powerful than a super-power is a Super-Duper Power — the power of the people plus the power of love. And anyone who doesn’t believe we are a Super-Duper Power, well they have been super-duped!
It’s true, many people still feel that the affairs of the world should be left to the bolder and badder among us. But look what that leaves us with: Are you satisfied choosing between Saddam Hussein and George Who’s-Not-Sane? Now I know those “God, guns and guts” Old Testament Christians might have forgotten, but Jesus did say that the meek shall inherit the earth. In all undue immodesty, maybe it’s time for us meek folks to boldly step forth and accept our inheritance.
For just as 2000 years ago Jesus stood up to a class that placed the rule of gold above the Golden Rule, today we face the modern version of the Pharisees — the Phallusees, I think they are called. They cynically cloak themselves in religious robes, but the only power they trust is the power of the stick. Well, there’s another old saying: It doesn’t matter how big your stick is, if you stick your stick where it doesn’t belong, you’re stuck.
Another sign of the up-wising and coming evolution is that people are growing dissatisfied with the positionality of “my side vs. your side,” and are seeing the whole issue of sides from a new angle: Maybe we’re all on the same side. For example, this argument between creationism and evolution is just another way for dueling dualities to steal our energy. I believe in both. I believe the Creator created us to evolve, otherwise Jesus would have said, “Now don’t do a thing till I return.” I have it on good authority that the Creator is pulling for us: “Come on, you children of God. Time to grow up and become adults of God instead.”
Time to Overgrow the System From the Grassroots Up
The time for revolution and overthrowing has past. Now we need an evolution where we “overgrow” the current dysfunctional system from the grassroots up. You are probably familiar with the story of the Native American grandfather who tells his grandson that there are two wolves fighting inside all of us: The wolf of fear and anger, and the wolf of love and peace.
“Which wolf will win?” asks the young boy.
“Whichever one we feed,” replies the grandfather.
And so when people ask me to predict what will happen, I tell them the only thing I can predict with certainty is the uncertainty of any prediction. The future’s just too unpredictable these days. This is a Universe of infinite possibilities, so it all depends on which futures we invest in.
There is something far more empowerful than predictions, and that is Tell-A-Vision. If you’re fed up with the current programming, my advice is turn off your TV and tell a vision instead. That way, we will have healing and functional visions to step into — and that beats what we’ve been stepping into. So I will tell my vision for 2006: This is the year of the American Evolution, where all those who prefer the Golden Rule to the rule of gold get past left and right, and come front and center.
I see Americans of all political stripes, plaids and polka dots (not to mention solids), choosing to face the music and dance together. Sure, we’ll have to learn some new steps, but it’s time for a new dance – A-Bun-Dance. That is where we get up off our assets, move our buns, and dance together in rhythm and flow. And what better way to turn the funk into function, and leave the junk at the junction?
I see us in a new reality show — Extreme Planetary Makeover — where everyone can play and everyone can win. Just think. Something more compelling than reality TV … it’s called reality!
I know, I know. Only a crazy person would dare to propose anything that sane. But maybe it’s time to declare the current institutionalized insanity illegally insane, and set about building a sane asylum big enough for all six and a half billion of us. As my guru Harry Cohen Baba has said, “Life is like a good deli. Even if something isn’t on the menu, if enough people order it they have to make it.” So what kind of new world order are we ordering up? Do we feed the wolf of fear and buy into the “it’s every man for himself” story? Or do we nourish the wolf of love and evolve into the “we’re all in it together” story?
If we’re going to be a Super-Duper Power, we have to be super-duper powerful in activating the power of love, and cultivating the power of joy. So laugh more. Why not? We all know there’s something funny going on. The wall of lies cannot withstand the vibration of laughter. All seriousness aside, only a farce field that combines truth and laughter can bring down the Irony Curtain once and for all.
Release the old story — been there, done that — and speak the new story into the world. Dare to imagine what we could be doing if we weren’t spending so much of our livelihood on weapons of deadlihood. Think about it … think tanks where they think about something other than tanks. Young people living for their country instead of dying for it. Health and education fully funded, and the Air Force having to run a bake sale so they can buy a new bomber.
Can we change the course of history? Can we shift our karma into surpassing gear? I cannot say for sure, but if we choose to give up that old Dodge and trade it in for an Evolvo, that’s a good first step. So … let the Evolution begin. We don’t have to wait until the first Big Shot is fired. If we create a powerful enough field, the Big Shots will end up firing themselves.
May the FARCE — as always — be with us.
Poetry Of Cairo
A Rose for the Last Days – Rana al-Tonsi
On one foot
like a humiliated beggar I limp
past all the swinging doors
and the flags that are taken down from their masts . . .
The sidewalk was never my friend
but it embraced me those times
when the crying was tough and bitter
In my country
soldiers go to a war
where they never fight
In every coffeehouse or square
under the feet of the sick, the sad and insane
you can glimpse the trace of a rose
thrown into the arms of nurses
in lonely rooms inhabited by wailing,
a rose drawn in blood.
I cannot believe the car has yet to stop
that I fell out of it
like a scream
I know the lift attendant
never jumps off the fences
and that rocks keep wounding me
even though Ive roamed for too long.
On one foot
death will come
and raise its head
Facing it, I will embrace this man strongly
and strangle all the poems in his hands
I will crush my bones under his hot breaths
My lungs are becoming two tubes
my feet like a battlefield
my heart a noose.
Am I really dead?
Only a while ago
I was smelling that homeland.
In those empty streets
even dogs are afraid to cross
You will cross
with a shadow that doesnt accompany you
and a backbreaking love
You will talk about your parents
the shock of sudden death
and the added light
which never lessens loneliness
When my eyes well up
and my pants are wet
as I stand before you
you will take a newspaper from your chest
and a mirror from your eyes
so that I may look into them
that now I can go out.
Into one of those swamps
left by an old flood
the kind that drowns entire villages
I will jump like a bird
with broken wings
a birds looking for a merciful killing
The bird which loved the behinds of every hen
can no longer fly
as is his wont every time he mounts
his eyes can neither close in sleep
nor let a tear fall
But all the birds agree
he does shut them every now and then
although no one knows for sure
if he does it out of pleasure or out of pain
for a sad bird like him
can only dream
of a long darkness
Every time I think of my own death
someone else dies
and the poem keeps
I embrace no one
my steps pass without me
the hand of the house burns me
The one who sleeps in my history
his steps crush me at night
In the morning
I wake up scared, on his chest
He tells me
what I was not
He smokes his cigarette
like a returnee from war
He knows the precise number of its victims
and I, between stolen looks
and the sounds of his breathing,
know there was a lost letter from him.
Translated by Sinan Antoon
from the authors collection
Warda lil-Ayam al-Akhira [A Rose for the Last Days], Merit, 2003
was born in Cairo in 1981. She graduated from the American University in Cairo with a degree in Arab Studies and is currently teaching at the British School in Cairo. She has published three collections of poetry: That House from which the Music Comes (Cairo, 1999), A Rose for the Last Days (Merit, Cairo 2003) and A Country Called Desire (Merit, Cairo, 2005).
Its Night – Zahra Yusri
its half light
its trees at a distance
nature throwing you on its shores
you stretch your legs, looking at the horizon
its the stars
the chemistry of the body
its an illusion
the jungles of a forest
its the mud
its the cosmos
is this enough to make you hold my face in your hands?
can we summon up some opening phrases,
can we look at the moon,
(how beautiful it is tonight!)
and lean against a tree, paying no attention to its rough trunk,
pretending that what scrapes our backbone is desire?
we can climb a mountain and then descend it, wondering
how the earth rose up all of a sudden like that
how we have become all alone with no families
hanging by our toes like pendulums
as if we have never been here before
as if born yesterday
we stand facing each other
you holding my face in your hands
me looking into your eyes like an old she-wolf deserting her pack
do you know what an old she-wolf does?
how mountain goats lock horns in the mating season?
have you ever seen a flower opening up for a butterflys legs?
dont close your eyes
nights half light is enough to delude
Translated by Waiel Ashry
Zahra Yusri was born in Cairo in 1974. She studied Arabic literature and language. Since 1997 she has published three collections of poetry and the fourth Hayat Iftiradhiya [Virtual life], is in print with Dar Sharqiyat, Cairo
(Cléopâtre et César)