In the late sixties, after returning from Viet Nam, I began to sense a building desire in two
areas. One was a need, as arrogant as it may seem, to change others closer to my apolitical, philosophical view. It seemed that while I was away at war, which I first imagined as fighting for our freedom, others, my family and friends, had fallen into a deep sleep, as if they had ever been awake. I had begun to see the purpose for the Viet Nam war as not the one proposed by our leaders that of preserving the American way, but rather the typical selfish, greed of the corporations that I now saw as the real leaders of the land I called home, and ultimately the world. My family, particularly my father, and most of my friends did not see it this way. The second area was my spiritual growth which up until this time had been neglected.
So I participated in a couple of demonstrations, and marched in protest against the war, and while in some ways our protests did shorten this illegal political action, I realized that it did virtually nothing to change the structure of the society that I was now painfully aware that I inhabited. I also realized that it did nothing to further the awakening process of those I was close to. As for my spiritual development, I did not know where to start, and mostly pursued my go to, mind-altering substances.
I did not, however, give up. I continued to speak my mind when the opportunity did present itself, in both of these areas. I also began to find the written word of many who had gone before, the works of so-called conspiracy writings, authors such as Joseph Farrell, and William Keith, which confirmed my belief that our world was run by the corporations, and frighteningly added a new depth to the lie that had been my perception of the world around me.
Spiritually I also began to find my way, mostly through trial and error. I read the bible cover to cover more than once, and while I did not find this to be my path, it did solidify a deep love of Christ, which I consider to be the connection between God or the creator and man. I also began to meditate, first using a relaxation technique that my brother taught me. I also, at this early stage, started to read books on Zen Buddhism, and eventually found my way to Transcendental Meditation, which I also did not choose as my path. However, some of this experience did lead to some profound experiences, a deep relaxation, floating it seemed, bordering on flying. I experienced this on several occasions at this time, and not since. It did awaken my belief that there is more here than we often see.
This article, however, is not about my political or spiritual history. It is about where we find ourselves today. I realize that arrogantly I failed in both of these tasks. I have, and cannot change anyone. And my spiritual growth has lost the path. I am no longer sure what the path is, and wonder how I could have ever been sure considering the "smoke and mirrors" world that we all find ourselves in.
I recently posted a video of a song called Landscapes by Shawn Phillips. This is a song from the early seventies, that period of what I believed was significant growth, and contains the lyrics:
And pinpoints of brilliance, some moving, some still
Are caught in the glass of my window sill
The pinpoints I mentioned I don't speak of stars
But then, think again, it's funny they are
Stars made by man who himself is a star
If only he'd realize the powers that are
And all he's got to do is lay down and play dead
And now looky here Vesuvius looms overhead.
Shawn Phillips from "Landscapes"
Vesuvius, of course, refers to Mt. Vesuvius, which Wikipedia notes:
Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the burying and destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and several other settlements. That eruption ejected a cloud of stones, ash, and fumes to a height of 33 km (20.5 mi), spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 1.5 million tons per second, ultimately releasing a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima bombing.At least 1,000 people died in the eruption. The only surviving eyewitness account of the event consists of two letters by Pliny the Younger to the historian Tacitus.
Vesuvius has erupted many times since and is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years. Today, it is regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 3,000,000 people living nearby and its tendency towards explosive (Plinian) eruptions. It is the most densely populated volcanic region in the world.
The reference to Mt. Vesuvius in Phillip's song is a metaphor for the dread of disaster that has hung over the heads of humans since when...?..the beginning of time?
I suppose that I can only speak from the experience of this lifetime. I was born in 1947, among the first of a generation that was known as baby boomers, the product of World War II. We inherited, I believe, the guilt of two atomic bombs dropped on two Japanese cities, the guilt from the death of untold thousands. We were propelled then into the paranoia of the Cold War, and the first of the illegal war actions, Korea. And while I grew up in what the previous generation thought the wonderful 50's, it really wasn't. It was in this era that the seeds of our time were sown, the secrets kept so long about UFOs, the assasination of JFK by elements of our own government. And while there must have been many reasons to get rid of Kennedy, the primary must have been his decision to break free of the grasp of the European bankers. I can think of no single event that shaped my life like this murder, not even the second illegal war, Viet Nam. The killing of Kennedy shattered my trust, my belief in America as the great democracy.
Over the years I have come to believe that virtually nothing is as it seems. Politicians are not elected, they are chosen by those in real power, those who pull the strings. Wars are not global or large scale disagreements, they are political actions. They are not won or resolved, they only lead to the next, another political manuever designed to bring more power to the puppet masters. Peace has no counterpoint, and yet we know only war, one leading only to the next and on to the next.
We are not told the truth about any of this. Instead we are told lies that hold us in confusion. We are fed a steady diet of sports, sex and gadgets designed to distract us from reality, all the while accumulating the debt required to purchase our own addictions.
I have stated recently that I believe that there is one truth that each of us
need to acknowledge that might make all of the difference. Each of us, on some level, acquiesces to the hold that those in power have on us. Perhaps it is an addiction, to buying, to mood altering substances, to sex, to manipulation of others for our own upness, political power, denial so that we do not have to have a good look at the illusion that we hide behind.
I often ask people "What really matters to you?," which is designed to elicit what your core values are. It is an important question, but perhaps a more important question is: "Why did you come here?" Do you think that you had no say in the matter. Think again.
We are living in a time of smoke and mirrors, a masterful illusion in which we are all left to wonder if anything matters, is anything at all true. Does truth even exist, or is all that there is in our minds.
I once had a horrible fight with my father. It was my opinion in 1968, or whenever it was that the choice between Nixon or Humphrey for president was no choice. He was furious with me. He was sure that I was spitting in the face of all that he believed in. And yet here we are today, an election year in which neither candidate is qualified in any way to be president, and a growing number realize this. We continue to militarize the globe, and I often lie awake at night wondering if tomorrow will be the day that it all erupts. Vesuvius indeed.
Yet each of us in our way is a tiny piece of the whole, of God or of the universe, of life (or light) itself, having chosen to incarnate in this time, to bring the essence of all that is good to earth in a time of it's greatest need. Why? Think back. Why did we choose this time, a time of infinite confusion and infinite danger. A time when Vesuvius hangs above us all, waiting to pour it's fire and molten lava down upon us. Why would we choose this time? Because it is the time of greatest need. Is it not possible that the human race could parish. Sickness and disease linger awaiting just the moment to strike. We have more addictions than man ever thought possible, and rather than excitement for the dawning of each and every moment we rather dread them, Oh, God, not another Monday! And yet, if this was your final moment, how prescious it would be. Think about this for a moment, and then try to remember why you are here, and the wondrous spark that is your essence.
Shawn Phillips says in another song, "Coming Down Soft and Easy:"
But could it be a grand joke
A puff of smoke
Yes it's but a great day
To know the way
Don't you see the huge clouds go flying by
Don't you know
Deep down we all are butterflies
Deep down we are all butterflies, and stars, if only we'd realize the powers that are. The powers contained in the entity that you are. Do you believe this? Christ said that we would do greater things than he. Yet we take all of this for granted, and instead fall into the snare set by the minions of the great organized evil that some would call Satan. Does it really have to play out that way? For a lifetime, I have resisted believing that there would be an "end times." And here I am waiting for the eruption.
Perhaps here is the challenge I am making. Imagine, such a powerful word, that each of us could take that one step further toward fruition of the spirit, simply be the star that we are. Let go of the illusions that we seek over reality, become the being that we came here to be, to reach out to others with our hearts, comfort and strengthen, be human ness. Reach out to those who will take your hand, and let God deal with those who will not.