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Thu Aug 14, 2014, 09:36 AM

Rain

“Hate can only produce hate. That’s why all these wars are going on, all this insanity. There’s too much anger in the US. People are too afraid, too numbed out. We need to wipe out all this hatred, fear, distrust, and violence. We need to understand, forgive, and love.”
-- Dr. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter

On Wednesday, April 25, 2001, Rubin spoke at SUNY-Binghamton, in NYS’s “Southern Tier.” During his presentation, while telling how angry he was after being wrongly convicted of a brutal hate crime, Rubin heard my 4-year old scolding her 7-year old sister. “That’s it! That’s it! That’s exactly how angry I was!,” Rubin said, before cracking up laughing.

When he caught his breath, Rubin introduced my daughters and I to the audience. And after the show, Rubin delighted in “chasing” my little girls about, “threatening” to tickle them. After pretending to run from him, both girls ran smack-dab into the Hurricane’s outstretched arms.

Eventually, Rubin had to catch a plane to his next stop. As we headed to our car in the parking lot, my wife asked me if I had noticed Rubin’s brief, but intense, reaction when he was hugging the girls? She asked how old Rubin’s daughter was, when he had first been incarcerated on what became his 20-year journey? Indeed, our daughter’s age.

The following morning, I was contacted by a professor from SUNY-B who was writing a book on the Power of Forgiveness. She asked if I might try to get Rubin to contribute a chapter. Her book focused primarily on her attempts to forgive her parents, for the hell that had been her childhood. The above quote is from Rubin’s chapter of that book. Likewise, the following one is:

“Lois raises an intriguing question. Like pain is pain, suffering is suffering -- whether being wrongly imprisoned, wrongly placed in a concentration camp, or wrongly abused as a child. But pain is a component of suffering, but not suffering itself. There are no degrees of suffering.”

This nation is suffering from fear, hatred, and violence. Small surprise, as this is the present condition around the globe. Yet, as an Earthling inhabiting a tiny plot within the US, I tend to focus on this nation. The US is saturated with the inevitable violence that is a component of hatred. The US fears and hates; the US is feared and hated; and the nation’s response is to export more violence. It is a cycle that builds momentum, and today we witness violence and suffering in our nation that is unjustified: teens shot and killed by police for having black skin; peaceful protests hijacked by rioters; and a government in DC that has become hatred itself.

The ONLY thing that can counter this force is the individual. There is no politician or other “leader” who can stop the growth of violence and suffering. It is an error in thinking to look to a president or religious leader to make that change happen. It’s up to you and me.

Rubin frequently quoted Mark Twain: “Bitterness contaminates the vessel that contains it.” I often struggle with negative thoughts and feelings, myself. While we all, as unique individuals (or, as Rube would say, “miracles”) have to find our unique path. For me, for example, I spent the past few days preparing for a sweat lodge ceremony. Two close friends came over yesterday, and we enjoyed a good ceremony. One of my friends has been seriously depressed for the past eight months. The ceremony, with the air, soil, stones, fire, plants, and water does not remove the tough things we face in life. But it helps to allow us to put things in their proper context.

Towards the end of the ceremony, when the rocks had cooled, and the only noise inside the lodge was that of a few sandstone rocks cracking, we listened to the songs of the birds outside. The song-birds were dining at the nearby bird-feeders. And then, a light rain began to fall.

Peace,
H2O Man

23 replies, 1403 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply Rain (Original post)
H2O Man Aug 2014 OP
longship Aug 2014 #1
H2O Man Aug 2014 #3
longship Aug 2014 #7
H2O Man Aug 2014 #20
brer cat Aug 2014 #2
H2O Man Aug 2014 #4
woofless Aug 2014 #9
sabrina 1 Aug 2014 #21
redqueen Aug 2014 #5
Avalux Aug 2014 #6
H2O Man Aug 2014 #10
Zorra Aug 2014 #8
H2O Man Aug 2014 #11
CaliforniaPeggy Aug 2014 #12
H2O Man Aug 2014 #14
SomethingFishy Aug 2014 #13
H2O Man Aug 2014 #16
sabrina 1 Aug 2014 #23
malaise Aug 2014 #15
H2O Man Aug 2014 #17
malaise Aug 2014 #18
H2O Man Aug 2014 #19
Uncle Joe Aug 2014 #22

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 10:31 AM

1. You are a beautiful writer, my friend.

And you have a way to cut to the core of the important issues.

(I hope you and your sweat lodge mates kept well hydrated.)


Best regards.
longship

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Response to longship (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 11:34 AM

3. Well, thank you!

This is such a strange time period. I suppose that that's always the case. But in recent weeks, I've noticed more of the people that I'm closest to having difficulty in staying positive. And I understand that -- really, I do, as the past 9 months have provided me with more negative things than I care to think about.

My friend asked me, "How do you do it? How do you maintain, and even be productive?" I showed her a carving of a bald eagle I'd been working on for the past several days, from a nice section of an elk antler. In the hours when I was working on that, all those problems were still there, but they weren't occupying space in my mind. In fact, by focusing on the antler, some new ideas on how to deal with those problems came to the surface.

I'm lucky: out a short distance from the lodge, there is an enormous boulder. A clear spring comes out from the north-west section of the boulder, and runs year-round. So we had lots of cool water to drink inside the lodge!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 12:01 PM

7. At times like this I listen to opera.

All the death and mayhem. Wagner's Ring always shows how bad it can get. Then, there's Tosca, where nobody survives. Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro shows how good things can turn out and how important love is. (One simultaneously laughs and cries.) One of my faves is Philip Glass's Satyagraha which satisfies both my musical and political senses. All these with wonderful music, which to me is itself a transforming experience. I even occasionally tread into Alban Berg's somewhat twisted operatic visions. It's all good.

We all have our own paths. Bearing witness with a suitable amount of passion is what matters. That can change the world. (One can only hope.)

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Response to longship (Reply #7)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 11:57 PM

20. That's good.

One of my brothers listens to opera. I tend to listen primarily to The Beatles. If I'm feeling really stressed, I'll listen to the Plastic Ono Band.

Music is important.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 11:01 AM

2. K&R

The fear and hatred around us is sometimes overwhelming. I am very fortunate to have H2O man to put things in perspective, and leave me feeling a bit of peace.

You are one of DUs best assets, friend. Thank you.

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Response to brer cat (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 11:35 AM

4. Thank you!

That means a lot to me.

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Response to brer cat (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 02:15 PM

9. +1

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Response to brer cat (Reply #2)

Fri Aug 15, 2014, 12:06 AM

21. I'll second that. Definitely one of DU's best.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 11:52 AM

5. K&R

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 11:55 AM

6. A very good post. If I may.....

Did you ever wonder.....why.....with billions of people on the planet, we only ever hear about and spend way too much time obsessing over the bad actions of a very tiny percentage of them? What if there was a vehicle like the NEWS that only gave us good news? What if we diverted our attention, and chose to mostly focus on and celebrate the good? Would the bad fade into nonexistence?

I would like to think so.

I've just been realizing lately that even the news we consider to be objective and factual is mostly negative, and with the advent of the 24 hour news cycle and the internet, we really do obsess over every little detail which keeps us in a place of anxiousness and yes, even fear. I'm not saying we need to ignore it, but once we know, move on and live our lives the best way we can, personally connecting with others in a positive way.

Carter's quote and your post resonated with me today.

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Response to Avalux (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 02:19 PM

10. Good question.

There's a small, weekly newspaper published in a town I used to live in. Every so often, when opportunity allows, I get a copy of it. Reading it is similar to watching re-runs of Mayberry, RFD. Every article (except the obit page) is cheerful news. There is zero chance, of course, of this paper ever becoming read by a wide audience. (The owner and editor do not, as a rule, allow anything "controversial" to be printed in their very republican paper. The only exception is when I submit an op-ed. The editor, for whatever reason, has admired my career as a social activist for the past five decades. She prints anything/everything I write, and never edits a bit out!)

Yet, the public prefers "bad" news. Especially "shocking" news. In my opinion, this is largely due to people's brain chemistry. They seek that jolt in the brain chemicals associated with excitement. And, because Americans have been programmed the years since television became common to be a nation of on-lookers, they seek vicarious thrills.

Add the current computer/cell phone phase of technology, and it becomes instant, very brief messaging. Most of the same people who would be lost without that cell phone, would not be likely to read a long article, much less a book. These days, my editor (who is my friend who attended the sweat lodge ceremony yesterday) continues to try to get me to write brief bits. Having spent many of my formative years at the Longhouse, where oral tradition and long speeches are valued, my failure to attempt to master that new form of communication frustrates her, I think.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 01:12 PM

8. Yeh. Good post, thanks.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #8)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 02:19 PM

11. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 02:29 PM

12. Excellent post, my dear H20 Man!

Your writing makes feelings of peace come over me...

How valuable that gift is!

I do the same thing with my poetry. When the Muse has me fully in her grip, I am one with the poem I'm writing, and therein lies bliss.

Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #12)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 04:00 PM

14. Thank you!

I've tried a bit of poetry over the years. Had a couple things published in a local book when I was in high school (back in the 1800s!). And in more recent decades, some lyrics for some musician friends. Currently, I'm trying to help my daughter and the gal she plays with, to do a CD (what people my age still call an "album".

Her friend, who is also my editor, is one of the people who were here yesterday. She's also a very talented artist. So I think all of these are great avenues for self-expression, and even relaxing.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 02:31 PM

13. K&R... The people who love outnumber the people who hate

by a large margin. Problem is people who love don't feel the need to tell everyone else "how to love". But the people who hate? They... recruit.

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Response to SomethingFishy (Reply #13)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 04:21 PM

16. Very important point!

Thank you for noting that they recruit. By no coincidence, that is a topic that Rubin and I discussed often when I was a teenager. He noted that "hate" does not exist outside of humanity. It is totally un-natural.

If we go for a walk through the fields and forests, or along a path near a pond or river, we will find that some animals experience "fear." It is a survival instinct. Yet no other animal on earth hates. Only people. More, this human perversion of instinct is anti-survival: it destroys both that which contains it, and much of the world around it.

Hate is un-natural. People must be taught (or, per your better description, "recruited" to hate. It must be planted, (anti-)nurtured, and frequently tended to, in order for its bitter harvest.

Thank you so much!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #16)

Fri Aug 15, 2014, 12:25 AM

23. Interesting, I had never thought of that, that we are the only species that hates.

True children have to taught to hate, but where did it begin, being that it is unnatural?

I suppose that is why people throughout the ages have turned to religion. Religion provides short, concise and simple answers to these deep, unanswerable questions. Religion says that is an evil force, called the Devil, and a good force, God. But where did THEY come from?

You describe how it grows, hate that is, very well. Reminds me of a line from a song 'we have to be carefully taught', though I cannot remember the song.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 04:05 PM

15. Magnificent

Thanks Waterman

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Response to malaise (Reply #15)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 04:22 PM

17. And thank you!

I do hope that, one day, you will be able to visit me here in rural, upstate New York.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #17)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 04:28 PM

18. I was close last year - in Binghamton

There's something I love about that place - must be the rivers.

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Response to malaise (Reply #18)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 04:41 PM

19. A half-hour away!

My sons live there!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 15, 2014, 12:24 AM

22. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, H2O Man.

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