Masks

“Lacking ecological insight it is all to easy to blame a sinister cabal, the one percent, a hostile government, incompetent bureaucracy or corrupt politicians for our troubles. Not to say all these and more did not have a hand in creating the mess we are now in, they certainly did. Yet, they too were being played by the sea changes overshoot is bringing about. As the coming century brings adjustment and correction to the human race it will be all too easy to fall prey to the rhetoric of a Caesar selling us a story we want to hear; the American dream was stolen by evil forces, the promise of the Enlightenment’s improvement of the human being was perverted by scheming cabals in corporate boardrooms, the nations are again soaking in blood because of greedy warmongers. . . “
Scott Erway, Mindful Ecology

Liars hurt us.

May your lies be bound, we pray.
Epiphany 2021

I would like to thank you all, this army of courageous contemplatives, for finding your way to embrace the earth with your naked hearts. Today it is the beautiful planet’s natural systems that are threatened on every side, being hurt in the pursuit of status, power and money by short-sighted, hardhearted people blind to what they do. Earth is the one calling in our hearts and minds to be set free from our ignorance and we will not be able to shut out its cry. Earth is the poorest of the poor now as Pope Francis taught clearly.

Did you visit the prisoner?

I have turned on the television. We do not use our mouths for what they are designed for, to speak the truth in kindness. The result is that today all the world literally must cover every mouth, veil every tongue. Is this not a profoundly appropriate witness to our children alive today as each small mind deeply absorbs this altered human face, this altered human environment? We are only eyes now, watchers watching. The one-way mass media put porn in every pocket with an ideology of pedophilia justifying it every step of the way and now these overly sophisticated nervous system hacks have succeeded in “gluing eyeballs to the screen”. . . and all but silencing rational discourse. Literate culture is no longer in the drivers seat. We are mutilated.

The children look at us burning their skies with every drop of gasoline we ignite today, day after day, gallon after gallon and it quite simply no longer matters what we say, we the masked ones. You can poison people with your words. You can also poison cultures with your words if given access to the public square. These are facts of the psychological order but they are just as real as rocks. Mankind is in profound need of healing from verbal abuse, are we not? The way out is down. Only a penitential recognition of the true state of affairs promises a way forward. A wound cannot be treated if we refuse to allow its examination and the wound to our psyches from this multi-generational bombardment of vocal trash and toxicity is just such a beast.

You need to wake up to the horror.

It is the movement that simultaneously begins healing: this is the wound, this is how to treat it. We are in the situation of any adult who had been traumatized as a child. True healing only begins by first stating clearly and exactly the truth about their failed caregivers, daring the wrath of abandonment, humility and rejection by what feels like God Himself as they seem to betray “Honor thy father and thy mother.” Through trauma studies we now know that this false god had to fall if the victimized are to have any chance at recovery. I suggest our cultural life is at a very similar crossroads and that the recovering individual reclaiming sanity, self and boundaries is an apt metaphor for the challenge we face collectively. We are traumatized by the weapons and the ecological and cultural collapse and we need to stop our Stockholm Syndrome response right now. We seem terrified to challenge the sources of lies and misuse of language’s power generally. We are chicken but we can learn to hear the rooster crow! Like Peter we can feel the bitter tears of our betrayal of life itself. What happened to the innocence of childhood? Where did it go? How much did we sell it for? Who among you older folk can really plumb the depths of an adolescent trained with the intermittent rewards of electronic interpersonal addictions? If the pain that the earth is suffering does not move you, might this?

We need backbone to face the truth that in a world of increasing population and diminished or destroyed necessary resources (think food) the probability of global nuclear war only increases by the year. Shall we add a final poisoning of tens of thousands of years to the toxicity we have already allowed into the air, water and the soils? Shall this be our crowning legacy for our children or will we stop the madness before it reaches this point? In all truth, from what I have seen and all I have studied I do believe this is our shared situation today. We seriously need to have empathy for one another struggling under this burden of history that is ours. Those of us who have found the interior castle need to spread the peace we know to a world so desperately in need of it. Their harried effort to drive themselves over the cliff is accelerating, a dive into the abyss as a final act of worship to these idols of money, status and consumerism. They need to be touched by the good news: earth and we as its most awe inspiring and wonderful fruit, none of this was designed to fail. The insects and the wolves, Leviathan and Behemoth, the whale and the hippo and all the other forms by which the creator showers life with its abundance – every eye, every heartbeat, every breath of respiration witness to us of the power and the glory of that with which history deals for it is not unconnected to that with which evolutionary science deals. Nor is the long evolution of spiritual ideas within countless individual attempts to listen to just that creator any less real. We do learn to set aside pride for dignity of membership. “Thank God,” Thomas Merton once wrote, “I am like other men!”

Since we are in this together the question before us is whether or not we can truly reason through the questions of value being thrown in our masked faces by events. How? One individual at a time wakes up to the truth that this is a sacred world. In a deep place where the spirit dwells we share this truth, passing our candle flame to a brother or sister’s candle so that they too may know light and warmth. That very act kindles in others a thirst for authenticity. This aligns them with the cosmos.

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