Sunday, June 29, 2008

Call to Satyagraha


I have been reading an amazing book, one that is speaking truth to my soul in such a way that is leading me to a spiritual renewal of The Way of Peace I discovered in my youth during the Vietnam War. Satyagraha is the faith-essence of Martin Luther King, of Thich Nhat Hanh, The Barrigan Brothers, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

Would that this were true of Binyamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, George Bush and Richard Cheney, but like J.R.R.Tolkien reminded us two generations ago, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." If it is as pragmatically true as it is esoterically real -- "The first shall be last and the last shall be first" -- then lasting and universal power is found in "letting go" or "surrender" of self-will as a prerequisite to Purity of Heart.

By hallowed analogy, when the Pure in Heart come together in community, the life, faith and inspiration found in a mustard seed can give birth to a great social movement - it can move mountains.

The Hindus and the Buddhists claim that once the Seed of Truth has been planted in fertile soil and receives the rain of compassion and wisdom it will grow into a Tree of Life with roots interconnected to others in such a way that one can no longer perceive life as a tree separate from the life of the forest itself.

Sound familiar? Same root system, same sunlight, same waters of life flowing through our veins while inspiring and respiring the common elements of universal life itself. From earth to air, from fire to water the elements nurture us until we Realize -- or make real within our minds and actions -- that we are part of a force, uncreated, undying, that occupies the Universe. Wherefore, we begin to act upon this Universal Truth, holding firmly to the life it inspires and avoiding all activity that would send us reeling backward into the hell-realms of suffering through which we passed on the way to Our Great Destiny, that Sublime Glory through which life and our universe is graced with the interplay of cohesive energy and sacred emptiness.

All of my heroes spoke of this Sublime Glory within which we breathe the substance of our lives -- Spiritus, Pneuma or Rhua -- in ever more expanding cycles of surrendering until it completely opens our minds and our hearts in devotion to its source and to the dedication of our lives to our common journey of return.

We soon learn through experience that all illusions that detract us from our common journey lead back to the suffering that comes of separation and the illusions of radical individuality and self-sufficiency, that self-ishness that drives our habitual and obsessive will to power over others and our common circumstances.

Community experience also teaches us that we do not progress on our sacred journeys alone for very long without becoming lost again. "It takes a village." We will achieve our enlightened liberation together or we will hang separately. One inspires another in virtue; the inspiration is mirrored back to him and is refined until all are resurrected in The Light.

This is the great realization of the Mahayana Movement, incipient during the time of Christ, himself recognized outside his zeitgeist as a great Bodhisattva, a compassionate one who transcended his time to all-time.

This is Satyagraha. It is The Way of power and truth. It is an investment of spirit that goes beyond the misnomer "non-violent resistance" into an active practice of Truth in the face of evil and oppression. It is The Great Insistent Way of speaking Truth to power. The Way of holding forth together in communion. It is the bread to nourish our bodies and the wine to fill our veins with vitality and peace. It IS our Body and our Blood. It is the Word of God from the mouths of the prophets through which all things came into being. It is the Imam singing from a thousand minarets. It is the true gospel and true dharma of our salvation and conforms to but one law of spiritual physics that can be wisely and compassionately expressed either negatively or positively, just as the symbol of the Tao reminds us: Ahimsa, "Do no harm," and Bhakti, "If you would practice devotion to God, love others as yourself."

Rome has fallen; Britannia drowned upon the seven seas. Terrence J. Rynne has answered the call to proclaim the good news within our own materialist empire, yet another spirit-negating illusion built upon the machines of war and the worship of Mammon -- Pax Americana. Zealots of the right-wing are beginning to faintly perceive the Socratic Shadows on the walls of their mega-churches; yet their Simon Maguses continue to rail from nationalistic pulpits, "Give us Barabbas!" In all that clamor and hypocrisy, how can we find the real Jesus and save our children from the grinding dirges of war? How can we turn from this madness? How can we "let go" into the Kingdom of Heaven?

The answer has always been sitting right there on the living room coffee table. Stop sending the pretentious zealots of televangelism your money and help them find Salvation in the Truth-Spirit of Compassion and Wisdom by inviting them to join us in the great Pan American Satyagraha marching arm-in-arm across the bridges of Selma, of Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Ojinaga; across the Gulf to Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Cuba to LiberaciĆ³n, el mundo de la promesa antigua.

If you feel dumbfounded and without a clue reading memos like this one from the left-field bleachers and would like a more grounded explanation, for the sake of his sorrowful passion, and that gracefully inspired acceptance of salvivic suffering exemplified in the life of Gandhi, read the book! It will restore our republic while it opens us to our neighbors whom we claim to love.

Gandhi and Jesus; The Saving Power of Nonviolence, by Terrence J. Rynne.

Terry McMillian: This Train is Bound for Glory (Harmonica)


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