Posts Tagged ‘passion’

America! America! God mend thine every flaw

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

 

I am fearful that our beloved United States of America is going to follow a path (despite the rules laid down by our founders) that defies to protect us from the fate of Saudi Arabia, China and Russia.  All of those places have no tolerance for intellectual freedom much less freedom of religion or freedom to love. 

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I love America with all my heart…   her amber waves of grain are being destroyed by pipelinesHer purple mountain majesty is being blown to bits by coal magnates.

amber waves of grain

 

 

Her beautiful spacious skies will again be choked with soot and fear.  Her brotherhood of good From sea to shining sea will have to hide and whisper in corners and alleys.

texas

Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.  Self-control is likened to weakness and liberty to peril. 

I weep, and seek the comfort of the like minded.  I cling to to the lovers of clean food and thought, pristine water and mind, clear air and soul.  Greed is the enemy of all those things. 

America please see what is happening.  Please embrace what our founders saw and tried to keep for everyone after them.  O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years

O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years   I repeat –> O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years.  Take that in.

patriot dreams

 

that sees

 

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Till selfish gain no longer stain, the banner of the free!

 

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What makes an American good?

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Can a Muslim be a good American

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A conversation with a co-worker led to this inquiry.  This response from a regular American who happens to be Muslim explained plenty.  I apologize that I don’t have her name.

A Muslim can be a good American, as are most Muslims that I know and interact with.  Let me give you a general overview…
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) began preaching Islam in Makkah — there, he and his followers lived in Makkah, where most of the people where idol worshippers. later, he was pushed out of Makkah and went to Madinah, where he and his followers lived, in peace, amidst huge amounts of Jewish tribes.  Moreover, when he finally was able to go back to Makkah, it was a bloodless conquest… despite the fact that he and his followers were tortured and thrown out of Makkah by the people therein, and despite the fact that now, years later, the Prophet had power and people and could take revenge and killed the people who tortured them in Makkah, the opening of Makkah was a bloodless conquest. any Islamic history book will document this fact, and that alone proves that a Muslims can coexist with non muslims and be a good citizen of those respective countries. now… on to your points.
Theologically, Muslim allegiance is to Allah (as Christian allegiance is to Jesus) — but that doesn’t stop me from being a good citizen. I obey Allah, and worship Him and adhere to His words in the same exact way that a devout Christian or Jew would adhere to their books and beliefs. This doesn’t make the Christian or Jew unable to be a good American, and likewise with the Muslim — our allegiance is to Allah, which means we obey His rules — we pray, we fast, we help the needy and poor, we don’t commit adultery, we don’t drink alcohol, we don’t steal, and we don’t kill innocent people and so on — none of these things go against being a good American.
Religiously – even if Islam is the only accepted religion in the eyes of Allah, that doesn’t mean that we as Muslims have the right to judge others. ask a devout Christian about Christianity — he’ll tell you that Jesus Christ’s way is the only way. likewise, Muslims will tell you that Islam is the only way — that doesn’t mean that we’re going to judge non Muslims as going to Hell, because no one knows the future and no one knows, even a great enemy to Islam might become a Muslim and we have to embrace him as our brother the next day. Judging is left to God, so its not for us to judge; thus, this doesn’t affect us being good Muslims.
Scriptually – I can follow the 5 Pillers of Islam (belief in God, praying my 5 prayers, fasting Ramadan, paying my charity (zakah), doing Hajj once in a lifetime), along with following the rules in the Quran (not stealing, not killing innocent people, doing good things, etc) without affecting me being a good American.  A Muslim who adheres to God’s rules IS a good American because he treats others with kindness even when treated poorly by others.

Socially – the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to interact normally with the non Muslims of Makkah and Madinah — there’s nothing that prevents a Muslim from interacting and being nice to people around them – in fact, if a Muslim doesn’t do that, how is he going to spread his religion? The spreading of religion comes by others seeing the way we act in accordance to our religion, thus they see the beauty of it and accept it.

Politically – Muslim allegiance is to God.  America is not Satan, neither is Israel — there are people in America and Israel (especially in the government) who want the destruction and demise of Islam and Muslims, but that doesn’t mean the general populace of these countries also want that, that any people should be destroyed.  Our job as Muslims is to follow the teachings of the true Islam, after which people will see the beauty of our religion. When people see the beauty of Islam, many people will accept it. the problem today is that there are some extremists (terrorists exist in all religions) who do things in the name of Islam, and people have come to associate their actions with the actions of every Muslim. Over 20% of the world’s population is Muslim, and those terrorists do not even make up 1% of the number of Muslims — it is ridiculous to generalize about 1.3+ billion people based on what 200 terrorists do or say.

Domestically – Do you know why it was allowed for men to marry 4 women?  How many people do you know have married four women? You may hear of “Muslims with 4 wives” – and you change it to “he is instructed to marry 4 women” — that’s not the case (wait, i am coming to the beating part, patience) — a man *can* marry 4 women under very strict situations and circumstances which basically are very hard to fulfill these days.  Most men do not marry more than one woman. It is not an instruction or an order in any way.  When you look into the reason behind it, maybe you’ll understand why it is allowed.

Regarding the beating part – the problem is, you are taking an English translation out of context (the same thing with the bible).  I advise you to look at the verse’s translation in an Arabic Tafseer book where it will be explained. suffice it to say that the Prophet, who is the example for all mankind, never hit his wives, and whenever he did, he hit them with a straw. yes, a straw. its not meant as beating.  (perhaps we need to let the terrorists know this.  Spare the rod spoil the child types and stoning folks for misdoings)

I would also like to point out that Islam is the first religion to give rights to women. (this might be a stretch)  the Prophet implemented this in his time – he opened the first Islamic hospital and put a woman in charge of it to cure both men and women – some of the greatest teachers of Islam were women. the Prophet even took advice in crucial matters from his wives. Don’t be afraid to learn the teachings of Islam rather than take things that you hear without looking them through.

Intellectually – the Bible is the book of God. We believe it has been altered, but nothing in the constitution goes against my day to day religious practices or beliefs. notice it says “in God we trust” – “one nation under God” – these statements don’t go against Islam in any way. if it had said “in Jesus we trust” or “one nation under Jesus,” then maybe you’d be right, but it doesn’t.

 Philosophically – Islam is the first democracy.  (really?!) As a matter of fact, to the extent of the fact that if one person complained about a person the Prophet or one of the caliph’s put in charge, even if that person was a liar, they had the person replaced with someone that everyone consented and agreed with. Islam brought democracy, long before the idea ever was brought by western civilization. The prophet took the opinion and expression of his companions, even women.

Christians and Muslims worship the same God.  Christians believe that Jesus is part of that God and the Holy Spirit is part of that God. We believe that God is 1, not in a trinity.  Allah not referred to as loving and kind? as a matter of fact, the first verse of the Quran says “in the name of God, the Beneficient, the Merciful” — the very FIRST verse. in every chapter, God talks about His mercy and kindness.

My views are not liberal; they are the views of any mainstream Muslim. I’ve lived in this country, I’ve helped this country (by contributing my knowledge, ideas, time and effort to its schools, universities, corporate environments, and volunteer environments) – as have the majority of other Muslims.

 

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Don’t be trapped

Friday, July 15th, 2011
Harmonic Convergence

Harmonic Convergence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harmonic Convergence is a globally synchronized meditation for peace.  Adherents believe that signs indicated a “major energy shift” was about to occur, a turning point in Earth’s collective karma and dharma, and that this energy was powerful enough to change the global perspective of man from one of conflict to one of co-operation. Lets try again…

http://www.zenmoments.org/on-the-toss-of-a-coin/

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Steve Jobs delivered an inspiring commencement speech to Stanford University in 2005.   Here is the link and a few of my favorite parts.

http://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die.html

No one wants to die.  Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.  Death is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by Dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

We all know this, but, do we really do this?  We hear advice such as “stick to your own guns”,  “paddle your own canoe”, “find your passion”,   “a job worth doing is worth doing well”  You can’t seem to find your destiny or passion or calling? It must be understood that a job is not a life it is simply how we pay for a life. We are dust rolling around and collecting into what we become.  No dots may get connected and yet a life can be enjoyed .

 

Hospitals can be humbling.  A 34 year old patient lost her life to cervical cancer.  No pain, no nausea, just quietly and quickly slipped away.  She gave $60 to a friend to go get her sister out of jail.  The sister made it to her bedside before she died.  Did they choose this life?  Was it a fun carefree life or an irresponsible life that somehow became tragic?

Steve Jobs said, that he dropped out of school in order to take the courses that he wanted rather than the ones he was required to take.   Without a degree in something many of us might flounder or find ourselves unable to feed our children. Education is wonderful if you don’t know how to make computers in your garage. Nurses, doctors, scientists, teachers, some of our favorite people are the result of a good education.

Others live a carefree life and they share the fish they catch.  Living a carefree life can be great as long as it isn’t irresponsible.  Then again living a structured life can be great as long as there is  gentleness and spontaneity thrown in.  Living a life surrounded with people  love.  If there are no dots to connect and no passions to pursue than just live a life worth living.

“Peace does not come through prayer, we human beings must create peace.” — Dalai Lama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


something majestic

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

I found this to be amazing.  We are all so guilty of being captured by marketing and packaging.  If you put a young man playing a 3.5 million dollar Stradivarius violin in the middle of a subway line rather than a concert hall, no one stops to listen.  The marketing isn’t right?  I think the timing wasn’t right.  People trying to get to work on time cannot take the time to stop and listen even if they wanted to.

We don’t leave for work a little early because there might be a concert violinist playing at the subway station. I was late for class once though because the greatest classic guitar player in the world (in my opinion) was playing in the cafeteria at Broward Community College. (I called it beer can college, I loved it there)  He played all the parts of Bohemian Rhapsody and gave it a Spanish flair.  He was a foreign student from South America (Brazil I think) practicing for his final exam in his music class.  I hope he is living a happy life.


Perception

MusicianSomething to think about….

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:

The musician played continuously.  Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.  The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

What do you suppose was learned from this experiment?

maybe that is why we drive slower as we age.  We learn from missing out to take in the journey more so then the destination.  Leave a little earlier on your way to work or school, because something majestic is always happening somewhere.

simple bird

Faith

Monday, October 19th, 2009

dinosaur extinction finally explained

The thoughts of this person are worth sharing.  There is a book called The Case for God by Karen Armstrong.  Ms Armstrong spent seven years as a nun in a Roman Catholic order.  The italicized commentary is from a person known as “Johannes”.

Johannes says:

October 6, 2009

There’s a tendency to disparage people who believe in God as weak, groveling sheep. Kindness is often equated to weakness. It’s easy to debunk evangelical Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Quakers, Gnostic tradition or Episcopalians. But let us not forget that Western mathematicians Goedel, Newton, Gauss or scholars like Emerson, Kierkegaard, and more had their own particular way of discovering what God meant to them. Kierkegaard was an affluent depressed Danish philosopher who wrote some very interesting papers on faith. He loved his woman so much that he didn’t marry her.  He didn’t want her to have to deal with his depression.  He wrote that faith can only exist where there is doubt. You don’t have to have faith in a table because you can see it and feel it and put stuff on it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson lost his memory in later years and it embarrassed him.  I once read that fish have no memory and that is why it is OK for them to live in a bowl.  Every time they swim to the other side of the bowl there is a whole fascinating and undiscovered world.  I had a betta fish in a bowl on my desk here. I was so sad when he died.  I used to put a mirror next to his bowl sometimes and he would try to fight his reflection.  No one taught him to fight it was just innately in him to do so.  I think some people are like that.

I’m getting off track.

 Christianity is more complex and God was often viewed as aphotic (dark, nebulous, somber)  than  as a paternal deliverer of goodness to your prayers.   One of her main points indeed is that both logic and myth have their place in thought, just as reason and emotion have their place in humanity. otherwise we’d be conformist robots.  We’d run around killing and pillaging those who don’t think like us. I think they call that religious wars.

If you ever studied advanced mathematics (beyond the standard calculus or linear algebra), there are places where “logic” becomes less insightful — Russell’s paradox is an example or invoking Zorn’s lemma just to create something as basic as counting (natural) numbers. What does it mean to the mind that there are different sizes of “infinity”? Yet Cantor, who formalized set theoretic foundations of all modern mathematics, proved that indeed we do have different orders of infinity. when you look up Bertrand Russell, Max Zorn, and Georg Cantor you read some pretty heady stuff.  Brilliance and depression seemed to hang out together.   Most of us can be glad we’re not that brilliant.

Blanket rejection of faith in such a smug, strident attitude is rather sad and unappreciative of the beauty of a free mind engaging in something fully outside the limited realms of “self.” I think Johannes is trying to tell us to “step outside our own box”;  But, do we then step into the box of someone else?

Yes, there is doubt, but faith without doubt is mere credulity as Kierkegaard posits. Faith is not to simply overcome doubt, but it, like love, transcends rationality. Religion ought to be more than just a set of logical beliefs, as music is more than just notes on a page and dry theory or mere vibrations or life is more than books, theories, and philosophers. The theory came after the experience, to explain and justify and to share. I love what Johannes says here. Love is something you can’t see or prove, the color yellow is something you can’t describe to a blind person, yet they exist.

Religion is embodied in practice, in action, in process with something greater than yourself. The existence of God is not so much a falsifiable hypothesis, and the semantics of language obfuscate much communication. Religious zealots, the oil industry and the GMO industry hire lobbyists who do an incredible job of obfuscation. Show me where “love” exists. Show me where “music” exists. Show me where “beauty” is. There are many things outside the faculty of logic and language. Be humble and grateful that there is more. I am

 


I’m glad there are scientists and philosophers busy trying to find out why a pear smells like a pear or why the beautiful colors represented in this photograph happen.  I guess it all fits in the periodic table somewhere.

My point is Faith should not be mocked because it is based on doubt.  Faith is the driver for scientists and activists and incredible discoveries that people have made through all the recorded eras.  Faith and prayer saved my son.  I believe in the incredible power of faith.

http://knopfdoubleday.com/2009/09/22/the-case-for-god-by-karen-armstrong/

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