Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Tea Party, Conservatism, and the Constitution

THE TEA PARTY movement is named, of course, for the famous event in late 1773 when cases of tea were dumped unceremoniously into the Boston harbor. The Boston Tea Party—a carefully orchestrated strike against a commodity that was being taxed and sold by a monopoly provider—was intended as a one-time thing, though it ended up being an important link in the chain of events that led to the American Revolution. Today’s Tea Party, on the other hand, has ambitions to become an ongoing force—maybe even the major force—in American conservatism. And it strives for a revolution of its own, a return to a more limited, more constitutional form of government. If I had to judge its performance so far, I would say that it has been courageous and right in its diagnosis of the problems facing American politics, but somewhat off in its prescriptions.

When I say the Tea Party is correct in its diagnosis, I mean it is correct in its very clear sense that Obamacare is not just another costly, bureaucratic, top-down, regulatory scheme, of which we have, alas, so many. There is something genuinely tyrannical (despite the good intentions of many of its supporters) about Obamacare. It threatens not only to ruin our medical care system, but indirectly and directly--and sooner as well as later--to subvert our form of government and our way of life, fundamentally changing the relation between citizens and government.

HUBRIS and NEMESIS

In a way, you can see how dangerous Obamacare is by noticing how it has brought out the worst in liberals--which is evident in how they have responded to the Tea Party. Liberal impatience with partisanship--that is, with people who oppose their plans--arises from the fact that in contemporary liberalism, there is no publicly acknowledged right of revolution. That may seem like a strange thing to say, but if one looks at some of the political theorists who were most important to modern or statist liberalism--Kant and Hegel in Germany, say, or Woodrow Wilson here in the United States--they are usually quite explicit in rejecting a right of revolution. In their view, a people always has in the long run the government it deserves. So there’s no right of the people to “abolish,” as the Declaration of Independence proclaims, the prevailing form of government and substitute a better one. In particular, there is no conceivable right to overturn contemporary liberalism itself; as liberals today are so fond of saying, there is no turning back the clock. To liberals the Tea Party appears, well, bonkers, precisely because it recalls the American Revolution, and in doing so implies that it might not be such a bad thing to have another revolution--or at least a second installment of the original--in order to roll back the bad government that is damaging both the safety and happiness of the American people.

This is the position, for instance, of Sam Tanenhaus,, former editor of the New York Times Book Review and author of The Death of Conservatism. For Tanenhaus, conservatism is good insofar as it consolidates and preserves the liberal order. If conservatism turns revolutionary, i.e., attempts to roll back the liberal order, then it exceeds its commission--it goes off the reservation, so to speak--because liberalism stands for progress and progress is final. President Obama himself made this point a few years ago regarding national health care: “I am not the first president to take up this cause, “ he said, “but I am determined to be the last.” But, in fact, Obamacare’s strained and narrow victory in 2010 looked not so much inevitable as desperate. It passed by a party line vote, with rampant side deals to buy out the relevant interest groups, and against bitter resistance that has not gone away. Then came its disastrous rollout and its failure to meet any of its own targets for success. All of which suggests overextension and hubris on the part of liberalism, and in the wake of this hubris the Tea Party has confirmed itself as Obama’s, and Obamacare’, devoted nemesis.

What the Tea Party needs now is a strategy--something it has so far conspicuously lacked--to allow it to achieve its worthy ends. Thinking through a strategy will help clarify those ends: What is it, exactly, that the Tea Party means by limited government? Limited to what? And limited by what? Clearly the Tea Party’s form of conservatism points back to the Constitution as the basis for restoring American government. But how practically to move in that direction?

The Tea Party rightly concluded from the battles over Obamacare that what we are seeing in our politics these days is not two clashing interpretations of the same Constitution, but increasingly two different Constitutions in conflict: the old Constitution of 1787 and a “living” Constitution that is not just a different approach to the original, but an alternative to it. The extraordinary fight the Tea Party was willing to put up arose from this fact--that Obamacare amounted to a colossal battle between two different ways of government. And it was the Tea Party and President Obama who shared a clear understanding of the stakes; mainstream Republican leaders understood them with much less clarity and intensity.

MATCHING MEANS to ENDS

The failure of the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare and the individual mandate played into the Tea Party’s suspicions. The Court, after all, had come close to striking down the act. There were five votes to rule it unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause before Chief Justice Roberts changed the subject to the taxing power. When the Court punted on the main question and allowed Obamacare to become law, it suggested to Tea Party leaders in and out of government that the old constitutional mechanisms of judicial review and separation of powers did not seem capable of defending the Constitution against this fundamental challenge, and that the only recourse would be a direct appeal to the American people--to the ultimate source of authority for any constitution. To them, John Roberts’s about-face revealed the failure, maybe even the treachery, of the governing establishment--including the establishment Republicans who had nominated and backed Roberts as chief justice. That judgment might be unfair--at the very least it is not completely true--but in any case, the Tea Party concluded that it was not urgently necessary to raise the consciousness of the American people to this new threat.

At this point we should note the paradoxical character of the Tea Party: It is a populist movement to defend the Constitution, but the Constitution is meant, among other things, to populism in our politics--to channel, moderate, and refine popular passion through constitutional forms, such as elections, officeholding, and the rule of law. The point was to ensure, as The Federalist put it, that the reason, not the passion, of the public would control and regulate the government. So it was incumbent on the Tea Party to try to keep its populist means in line with its constitutional ends. And it is on this respect that the Tea Party has sometimes fallen short.

Last fall, the Tea Party seized upon the latest Continuing Resolution to try to bring down Obamacare. Granted, Continuing Resolutions, the multi-thousand page omnibus spending bills that pass for appropriations bills these days, are abdications of Congress’s own budget process and derelictions of its constitutional duty to protect the public purse. Yet bad things can sometimes be used for good purposes. But mainstream Republican leaders warned that the Tea Party senators never had a realistic plan to obtain the votes to defund Obamacare in the Senate, or beyond that to overcome Obama’s veto pen. President Obama needed to fund the government, but he felt, rightly it turned out, that he could hold out longer than the GOP could. The architects of the government shutdown could never answer the question of how victory might be achieved.

Apparently their hope was that an outraged American public--fresh from voting in 2012 to re-elect Obama and to increase the Democratic majority in the Senate by two seats--would rise up and put such pressure on recalcitrant Democrats that they would defund the program that their party had been longing for since Franklin Roosevelt. In relying on such an unlikely outcome, the Tea Party showed its own populist brand of impatience with the separation of powers. bicameralism, and the legislative process that the Constitution prescribes. In imagining that the American public could be persuaded to reconsider the results of an election hardly a year old, the Tea Party surrendered to its own version of the “leadership theory” that liberals have long preferred to legislative-executive politics of the constitutional sort. The implicit argument was that by going over the heads of the party leaders and constitutional officeholders to appeal directly to the people, the Tea Party could generate its own mandate to trump the mandate just awarded in the election.

Appealing to the people, of course, is a time-honored tactic: Ronald Reagan was famous for saying that if you can’t make politicians see the light, you can at least make them feel the heat! But Reagan appealed directly to the people from the bully pulpit of the presidency, not from the Senate floor, and he made sure to explain the issue in pellucid and persuasive terms. We learned from Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in the 1990s that it really is impossible to run American government from Congress. So as the Tea Party’s unreasonable hopes faded, it had to settle for less and less: delaying the individual mandate rather than defunding it; verifying the subsidies of policyholders in the insurance exchanges; abolishing the medical devices tax; delaying the medical devices tax; and so on. The Tea Party leaders were pushed back and back and were forced to ask for less and less, until they ended up with virtually nothing.

The NEED for POLITICAL THINKING

To summarize, the Tea Party has been right about the threat posed to the fabric of constitutional government by Obamacare and by other brazen assaults on the Constitution, such as President Obama’s asserted prerogatives to choose which laws to enforce and to make recess appointments where there was no recess. But the establishment Republicans were right about the outcome of the effort to defund Obamacare by tying it to the Continuing Resolution. One might conclude then that these two groups need each other--not only in the sense that they need each other to get to a majority in the House of Representatives, but also, at least for the time being, in the sense that each supplies the other’s defects. In that light it is neither wise nor moderate for members of either group to lambaste members of the other as political enemies--something of which both sides have been guilty.

The Tea Party could do itself and the country a great service by working out what a return to constitutional government might really mean, and thus the strategy and tactics appropriate to that. What is needed is less populism and more political thinking on its part, or on the part of its trusted advisors. Political thinking and constitutional thinking are not opposed, of course, any more than putting together a political majority and defending the Constitution are opposed. Indeed, these two great duties, properly understood, are implicit in each other. It’s doubtful that the Republican party can succeed with doing both.

After a century of Progressive mining and sapping of the Constitution, the great document we count on to defend us now needs our defense, and the form of government issuing from the Constitution is itself in need of restoration and renewal. Let me end by giving a few examples of how to bring the spirit of the Constitution and the spirit of conservatism closer together.

Tea Party leaders are eloquent on the point that the Constitution does not make the Supreme Court its final arbiter. Let them apply that insight to Obamacare. The problem with Obamacare is not merely that it will ruin health care, but that it undermines the whole notion of rights--natural rights--that come not from government from our own nature and from God. Yes, it us unfair, unworkable, and unaffordable. But to leave the argument at that leaves the Constitution out of the picture. So when denouncing Obamacare, let’s hear more about its unconstitutional aspects.

The fattest target is the Independent Payments Advisory Board (IPAB), which is unconstitutional on its face. IPAB consists of 15 members who are not elected by the people but appointed by the president. Their job is to make recommendations to limit Medicare’s budget by reducing reimbursements to doctors. Unless both houses of Congress overrule IPAB by passing their own equal or greater cuts to Medicare, IPAB’s proposals automatically become law. What’s worse. Obamacare conspires to make IPAB permanent by mandating that no resolution to repeal it can be introduced before January 1, 2017, or after February 1, 2017. In other words, the Constitution would be operational for one month only--and even then the repeal must pass by August 15, 2017, on order to be valid, and it could not take effect until 2020!

Congress could presumably unravel these restrictions and undo IPAB anytime it wanted. Nonetheless, the spirit and the letter of this kind of regulation suggests just how averse (and adverse) to the Constitution Obamacare really is. To think that Congress couldn’t repeal it, except for one month, and that even then repeal wouldn’t take effect for three years afterwards, is astounding. Why don’t Tea Party leaders talk more about that in condemning Obamacare? I think the American people would be indignant over this attack on their liberty to govern themselves. But they won’t be angry if conservatives don’t inform them about this travesty.

Conservatives should be calling for other kinds of reforms as well, in order to apply the consent of the governed to regulations which form so much of the substance of modern government. Let’s call for a vote by Congress on all regulations costing $100,000,000 or more. That’s one idea already in circulation. Or why not require the Appropriations Committee, or some combination of committees and committee chairmen in Congress, to approve all regulations, approved by any agency, so that there has to be some democratic say-so before any regulations become law? That does not require changing the Constitution, only a change in the law. We should also require Congress to follow its own budget rules. This doesn’t require an amendment either, only vigorous partisanship on the part of Republicans of every variety. We should insist on 13 appropriations bills for the 13 departments, which would give both parties a chance to fight it out, make what cuts we can make, and decide what is more essential and what is less essential. These kinds of reforms, well short of constitutional amendments, would help to reinvigorate congressional accountability and constitutional government.

If conservative officeholders don’t start to correct these structural deformations in our government, and if the Tea Party doesn’t turn its formidable patriotism and energy to enlightening the American people about how we are losing control of our own destiny, then no matter how many good policies we enact, or how low we set tax rates, the body politic will continue to sicken, and self-government will slip through our fingers.

[Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College]

About the Author

Charles R. Kesler is the Dengler-Dykema Distinguished Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College and editor of the Claremont Review of Books. He received his A.B., his A.M., and his PhD. in government from Harvard University. He is editor of the Signet Classic edition of The Federalist Papers; editor of and a contributor to Saving the Revolution: The The Federalist Papers and the American Founding; co-editor, with William F. Buckley Jr., of Keeping the Tablets: Modern American Conservative Thought; and author of I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Future of Liberalism.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Senator Johanns Proves Harry Reid is a Liar

"I continue to hear from Nebraskans who are suffering due to the consequences of this law. The stories I highlighted today are just a few of the many that I’ve received since I invited Nebraskans to tell their stories last fall." -- Senator Mike Johanns

Another Senator proves the real liar in the Senate is Harry Reid - not those telling their stories on how ObamaCare has affected their lives negatively. The real question Americans should be asking themselves is why the news media has not given this Senator's (and others on the Senate floor) comments the same kind of coverage that they gave Senator Harry Reid when he spewed such venom and lies from his mouth when he basically called every American a fabricator of falsehood because they reported how ObamaCare had affected their lives in such a negative way.

Where are you MSNBC, CNN, FoxNews, ABC News and CBS News? And they say the media doesn't operate on a double standard.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Spirit I Am - The Real of Reality

Introduction

Everything that is comprehended, understood and felt is the sum total of all that has been our experiences in this life. They, like that part of me that knows, comprehends, understands and feels is in a constant state of flux due to the nature of this existence. That which is I, however, remains the same and never changes. This I (the True Self - not to be confused with Freud's id or Ego) is what I call The Observer and it is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow - forever. I never changes and isn't comprehended by that which is me except as a whisp, a shadow - but it is the True Self all the same.

The Tabernacle Is What I Am

Thinking about the Tabernacle (The Jewish Temple) internally (or its internal, personal and spiritual significance) is what keeps the whole concept and hope of the Beit HaMikdash (The Temple in Jerusalem) alive in Judaism. After all, the physical literal Temple in Jerusalem and the pre-Temple (the Mishkhan) has been down (not up) for most of the history of Judaism. Therefore, it must be internal and alive within or it loses its deeper personal meaning.

The physical blueprint for the Temple was quite specific, as were the details of its dimensions, vestments and the tools and utensils. The blueprint for the I Am Temple is practically identical to the physical one since its Architect are one and the same. The Outer Court is the human body, or world-consciousness, what some have called "The Outer Man." It is that which comes into contact with the 'corrupt' outside world of physicality and imperfection and is in a constant need of "purification." It is that which makes the me aware of the three-dimensional world in which it dwells.

The Inner Court, or self-consciousness (the HaKodesh - Holy Place) is that which comprises the will, emotion and intellect. Some have referred to this as "The Inner Man." It too must be "set-apart" as a cohen (priest) for it is here that I acts as a bridge between the world of creation and the Creator. It is here that I am also aware of me also known by many as soul (the reasoning and emotional self as separate from other souls).

Finally, the Kodesh HaKodeshim (the Holiest of Holies) is the True-Self. It is that which is created in the image and likeness of its Creator. The unseen Self that cannot be seen or fully comprehended by anything emanating from the Outer Court or the The Holy Place. It is from the True-Self that the very essence and life of eternity (the Shekhinah) is the spark of the individual and where the I communes (communicates) with its personal, deeper concept of G-d on a level not known, seen, comprehended or fully appreciated by the Outer (body) and Inner Man (soul).

Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts

Whenever I am with a group of people or an individual whether it be in person or in an online conversation the topics of discussion seems to eventually turn to current events and the human condition. One of the most frequently asked questions is, "Why can't we seem to get our act together and learn to get along with one another?" It seems like a relatively simple question that should have a relatively simple answer. Human beings have been the dominant species on planet Earth for nearly two millions years and it would seem that by the 21st Century we should have at least learned to stop this petty bickering that ends up leading to minor conflicts or major wars. Alas, the truth is we have become either more sophisticated in our means of destruction, or on the other end of the scale we are willing to have "peace at any price." What is the cause of this dilemma? How can we, once and for all, escape this merry-go-round? The answer to the question may not be comforting to some, but when viewed from the perspective I will be setting forth in my following mind-musings, it is very enlightening, needed and truthful.

This plane of existence we call Earth and the universe we inhabit is a training ground of experiences for the spirit. To the futurists who think otherwise, my apologizes, but this particular universe will always be experiencing some kind of upheaval and change. It is built into the very fabric of it. Since all of what we know as humanity derives its substance from this universe, then it is inevitable that we too will experience varying degrees of upheaval and change. The key is in coming to terms with where our true identity lies. It is in this knowledge that the freedom and empowerment we long for can be found. The age-old question has gone something like this, "are we nothing more than the cohesion and mystical workings of the millions of cells that compose our bodies, sending thousands of electrical charges pulsating through the synapses of the human brain? Or, perhaps we are what we feel?" Either of these explanations would certainly explain the constant shift in human events. Or would it?

I propose that we are neither of these two limited options. We are something far greater than the sum of our parts. We are eternal spirits with limitless possibilities for growth and good. The problem is not with what we are but with what, or who, we believe ourselves to be.

In Another of My Beginnings - Bear With Me a Moment

It was a little over a year before I was conceived in this present physical body that I stood watch over the forming flesh within the womb of a woman I had chosen to become my birth mother. As I watched this forming globule of living flesh I made a profound decision: I would not, no could not, become the partaker of this coat of clay. There was something wrong with it in its development. Something that would prevent me from accomplishing the goals I had set for myself on this particular journey of becoming. As I withdrew the cells began to do likewise. The woman's uterus went into spasm and the now lifeless flesh was miscarried. I did not grieve for the discarded mass of tissue that was to become my temporary home within the three dimensional realm of reality, but I did grieve for the woman and the pain she experienced as she sensed a great loss within herself.

I stayed to my course and patiently waited. This particular human man and woman were perfect genetic, emotional, mental and spiritual matches for the path I had chosen to undertake and I waited until the right moment for fulfillment of the plan to begin anew.

This would be my last planned trip to this particular plane of existence and I knew I had a lot to accomplish in the few short years allotted to humans in this time-space continuum. Therefore, I did not lose heart. In all my journeys in this reality the one constant that has never changed is the knowledge that creation, in all its limitless existences, will unfold exactly the way it was designed to.

Then it happened. In the second week of April 1948 a conception took place. I stood guardian over the dividing cells that would become my temporary abode. All went according to plan this time and on January 13th, 1949 I was brought forth, not for the first time, but certainly for the last time; a human infant taking another set of steps in my own journey to discovering I AM.

Acutely aware of the coldness and bright lights my first instinct was to cry out and with what felt like excruciating pain on some part of this new body I did just that. The overwhelming experience of birth is soon forgotten by us all are we would never attempt such an experience again. As part of all births, especially in this plane of existence, the I is awarded what are known as "exit strategies." Generally there are at least three allowed per incarnation. They are "doorways" out of this life and can be chosen at specific times during the life experience. They usually are built in to be experienced as illness, accidents, conflicts or even suicide. For my last time in this reality I chose to build in three such doorways. I seriously considered one right from the start as I remember feeling extremely tired and hot as that little body lay there after birth struggling with each breath and jaundiced. Within a few days the body recovered as I had decided I didn't go through all of that process just to duck out now. I can remember how I quickly forgot the devastation of being born as I lay there coddled in the arms of this soft and warm person this body had grown so familiar with from a different perspective over the last nine months. My whole body fitted so easily in her two hands. I felt secure and safe in them and the blinding light, blistering cold and awful pain of being born was quickly forgotten by that little developing brain.

So began this particular journey in the life of an eternal Spirit who took on the temporary human identity known as Samuel K. Sloan, or my Jewish name Shmuel ben Shlomi. Except for the particulars it is pretty much the same for every human as well. Welcome to humanity --- AGAIN!

Why do we put ourselves through this horrendous experience of being born? Not only that, but we are born so physically helpless and as we go through the life are subjected to so much pain, suffering - as well as - great love and joy. Why? I can only answer that question from a purely egocentric perspective since I can only share why I returned for this one last trip.

I came back to human existence for several reasons. As the old adage makes clear, "No man is an island," therefore, some of the reasons for my return was to interact with other spirits that are housed in flesh and on their own life journey. With some we have had things that needed to be worked out in such a way that it could only be accomplished on this plane of existence since they began here, perhaps lifetimes ago but have never been resolved. With others it was just the pure pleasure of sharing a physical touch, a shed tear or a hearty laugh - again, in a way that can only be done here. However, I did come back to accomplish two specific goals: one deals exclusively with an area of my Being that required a major tune-up before I could feel confident enough not to have the need to ever return to an Earthly clay suit. That area was religion with a capital R. The other is a personal exploration that I may share with some of you at some point on "the other side."

That being said I would like to briefly address the importance of goals. Better yet, let me rephrase it this way, the Eternal importance of Goals. Those self-help financial and motivational gurus got it partially right. They have latched on to an eternal principle. This principle is actually a Divine Law. The only problem is that they are too limited in their focus to the materialistically narrow aspects of life. Success is not measured in just amassing a financial fortune. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against anybody making a fortune. James K. Van Fleet said it best, "Now I know there are other ways of measuring successful achievement. But I also know that a certain amount of financial success is necessary for complete happiness. I have never been convinced that a person can come up with good ideas for successful achievement on an empty stomach. All he can think about is how hungry he is or how hungry or how cold his wife and children are."

This Eternal Principle or Divine Law can be summed up in one short sentence -- Success is the realization of the accomplishment of a set goal or goals. That is why every single spirit that is bathed in light chooses to return to a mortal frame. They leave home and are born over and over again to realize the accomplishment of goals set down by them in a binding contract between themselves, other spirits and G-d. What or where is home? What I refer to as home is that experiential place of recognition of the reality of our existence as individualized centers of G-d.

Goal Oriented Creation

I create my own reality. Some reading this can already hear a voice inside them saying, "Now wait just one minute! Are you trying to tell me that I have created every single event that has happened in my life in the here and now? I mean, come on; there are some things that have happened to me that only an insane person would want." The answer to the question is - Yes.

Remember I quoted earlier that no person is an island? When I was at home I made a contract between G-d and myself. This contract, once metaphorically signed, is placed in a type of 'hall of records' in my own reserved section with the rest of my contracts from previous incarnation-states. At some point in eternity they will be opened for a private personal review by G-d and myself or as a prophet once put it, "and the Books were opened." The most important part of this contract is the goal(s) I have placed for myself to accomplish. These goals are what I carry deep within me to the here and now and the goal is the primary driving force of my life while I am here. Therefore, what I then do is create a reality around me, moment by moment, that is designed and made suitable to help me best meet that goal.

Since I am not an island while I am here sometime my created reality bumps heads with that of another spirit causing either a perceived delay in my forward movement, a regress in progress, or the need to find an alternate path, or a different reality, in order to continue on my road of successful accomplishment. I must carefully examine each of these bumps in the road before assuming I must find another path around or through them. I cannot assume they are all prohibitive. The bump, usually another person, might well be one of the very things I need to work out in order to successfully move on to the next level of achieving my goal. In fact, working out the relationship with this person, persons or thing may be the goal itself. Some may be having a problem with this whole idea of being able to create our own reality. I won't try overly hard to be convincing. It is simply a Divine Truth. I am a co-creator with the Creator. While G-d created all that is and is not on an infinite multi-universal, multi-dimensional scale, I co-operate by creating all that is and is not within my sphere of influence, namely, within myself.

G-d is Spirit and I am spirit. I am a spirit who has chosen to be housed in a physical body. Once I chose this union of spirit within clay I became a living soul. While in the limited confines of these clay pots the spirit (you and me) needs a method, or means of expression through the clay body. That means is the finite capacity built into the connection. This finite capacitor is known as reason and emotion, or what can be called the soul. There can be a tendency to confuse our true identity with either the physical body with its five senses or the soul with its finite capacity to rationalize and feel. We must always remember that we are neither body or soul. We are spirit. Spirit is our True Self. It is the the being I Am. A wise person once stated, "We are spiritual beings having a human experience."

Do we create our own personal reality? Simply put - Yes! Have I created every single minutia that occurs in the here and now on planet Earth? Simply put - No! In Middle and Far Eastern cultures this truth has been known for centuries of Earth time. In the Occident, since the West cultures are quite new by comparison, it has been dawning and becoming awake only since the late 1800's. The writers of all the ancient texts from the Sumerians to the Jewish Prophets and Buddha to Jesus have written or spoken extensively about the eternal truth of the spirit's ability to create reality, or what I like to call Life's Situation. I don't really like to use the term reality when referring to circumstances or situations because that usage can become misleading due to how it has been portrayed in the modern press, media and books since the 20th Century.

Reality is this: I am a spirit playing out a role I designed in order to accomplish a certain task or goal(s). The role I have created is the Life Situation I am in, and it is not reality but an illusion, the creator's slight of hand, useful in so much as it aids the creator in fulfilling its intended purpose for coming here in the first place. The ancients all understood this principle. Israel's King Solomon said, "As a man thinks in his heart (spirit being) so is he." Job, another ancient man of wisdom who lived in Sumeria before Abraham, observed concerning his present Life Situation (reality), "The thing, which I have feared the most has come upon me." It is written in the Talmud (the Jewish commentary on the Law of Moses), "Unhappy is he who mistakes the branch for the trees, the shadow for the substance." Finally, the Upanishads (an Indian religious text) states, "Thought is Brahma; for from thought even are verily born these beings -- by thought, when born, they live."

In the Western culture, because it has misappropriated Eastern thought, it has ended up with what I like to term backward thinking. Because of this habit of backward thinking the Western mindset has ended up with a philosophy that is mirrored in the ideas of men and women such as Descartes who proclaimed, "I think therefore I am." With all due respect to this acknowledged intellectual giant he got it backwards. The Truth is: I Am therefore I think.

Spirit - I Am

Spirit is what and who I am. Spirit has no appearance, nor frame, no cohesion and no shape. Spirit can manifest as shape. Spirit can create form. Spirit can exude a substance, however, spirit is without substance. Spirit is. I am spirit and I Am! You are spirit and You Are! Again -- We are spirit and We Are! I am a spirit that inhabits a created physical body and possesses a manifested soul. If the word spirit is uncomfortable it can easily be replaced with the word Mind (capital M). Spirit is the eternal Mind and Mind is the eternal Spirit.

There is no reality apart from spirit. All that I (small i) perceive as real and tangible is the illusionary canvas of the creation of G-d's thought and my (Capital I) thought. Eternal artists on an universal multi-dimensional stage called Life. G-d paints the big picture and I draw in the intricate details of my own existence. It is a partnership production. There are no one-man shows on this stage. I co-operate with G-d and with every other spirit and nothing transpires without a universal spiritual agreement - including the perceived bumps along the way.

Because I am spirit there has never been a time when I was not and there will never be a time when I will not be. As spirit I reside, or better yet, Am, in the Eternal Now. As a spirit there is no past or future, all is now and all but now is either memory and desire in the positive, or regret and fear in the negative - the Ying and the Yang of eternity. Spirits that live constantly feeding off the memories of the past or the desires for a non-existent future are not living in the "real world." The same can be said of any spirit who insists on living forever in regrets over the past and dreaded fear of what might be. If this behavior continues the former becomes a useless daydreamer accomplishing none of their goals or setting any while the latter, in a worst-case-scenario, become delusionally psychotic inhabiting their own created hell.

Spiritual Psychosis

"True insanity is the absence of one's knowledge of Self in G-d and G-d in Self. The only result can be manic despair." - Anonymous

Can a spirit be psychotic? Yes and no. It all depends on the definition of psychotic one wishes to employ. If the standard dictionary definition is used then psychosis refers to a condition of the human's rational and emotional state (the soul). Psychotic behavior exhibited while in the body can be caused by a variety of reasons not all related to the condition of the spirit itself. In many and most cases the spirit, or True Self, is perfectly intact but due to stipulations set forth in one's contract their present physical, and or, mental condition is an important part for attainment of their purpose, their goal. In other words, the psychosis is a necessary part of its creator's contract. It touches the soul but not the being in any harmful way. For reasons known only to G-d and that spirit the person's True Self will be enlightened and grow as a result of the experience.

Spiritual psychosis, however, is a totally different animal. Those suffering from this condition are in a truly sorry state of existence. They are mad in the traditional sense and they will exhibit that madness whether in or out of the body. By their choice they are devoid of the manifestations or expression of Light and are generally extremely single-minded on one purpose. That purpose will vary from spirit to spirit but it will never be positive in nature. It can range from the sadly benign to pure hate and evil destruction and express itself in a desire for complete dominance over all that is. I call these particular spirits The Homeless Ones because they have chosen to refuse to come home between incarnations. They flitter from one life to another never knowing their center, lost in darkness, despair and deep spiritual pain with a sense of total abandonment. Their cycle of life, death and rebirth is a seemingly never-ending, ceaseless cycle of dark hopelessness and destruction. They chose this type of life because it is only on the three-dimensional plane of existence that they can continue with their own self-destructive behavior. If they were ever to decide to come home they would be so bathed in the Light of G-d's everlasting Love and Forgiveness that true healing would begin immediately. Fortunately at some Now in G-d's eternity that will be the case for each of The Homeless Ones. They will be lost and homeless no longer. But, until that Now becomes a perceived reality they continue to wreak havoc on themselves and their creation, which is a part of this dimensional universe.

On the bright side, very few spirits by contrast are in this homeless state. Most are growing more and more into the likeness from whence they came with each new incarnation and trip home.

Body and Soul - What I Am is Not

The mystery here is not that I have a body and soul, but how did they come to be and what exactly are they all about? Everyone that has been told the story of the birds and bees should know by now how this human body came into existence and a stork had nothing to do with it. The origin of the soul is quite another matter altogether. Just how did this magnificent thing come into being? There is an excellent explanation for that in one of the oldest texts still actively read and pondered by people some four thousand years after it was originally penned by a wandering Jew in the deserts of the Sinai. Actually it is a retelling of a story that goes back to the very first recorded human civilization some ten thousand years ago in ancient Iraq and Iran in the area known as Sumer. However, since most are more familiar with the latter telling I will refer to it. It is attributed to Moses, the man responsible for the Jewish Law known as Torah (Instructions/Teachings). In his first tome known in English as Genesis he wrote, "G-d formed man out of the red clay of the ground. G-d breathed into the lifeless dust and man became a living soul." While I recognize that some of the religious implications of this and other ancient texts can sometime obscure the vision, a kernel of truth, nevertheless, remains in them for us to glean and learn from.

The breath of G-d is myself - the I (True Self). Every spirit is the Breath or Life-giving Force of G-d. As stated earlier: It has no beginning or ending and like G-d is eternal. It is myself - I am. It is you - you are.

The body is made of the available created raw materials that are conducive for housing a highly evolving spirit. The body has no sense of its senses without the spirit. It cannot see, hear smell, touch or taste without the life infusing spirit. While the potential of these senses exist in the created body they have no expression until the spirit joins it.

The soul is the intangible product of the joining of the spirit to the body. It cannot exist without this joining. The soul is the two-way communication link between the spirit, the body, and this three-dimensional time-enclosed world we experience while we are human beings. For discussion purposes only, the soul can further be divided into sections: consciousness - or the thinker, and sub-consciousness - or, the automatic mind. I prefer to call the subconscious mind the Facilitator. The spirit used the Facilitator as an observer and shaper of the world around it. This part of the soul is passive and non-judgmental. It has a two-fold purpose: to give the thinker its needed drive and inspiration to help accomplish the realistic goals the spirit has set for itself as well as running the automatic functions of the body, those countless tasks each cell must perform to help maintain body function and homeostasis. Its other task is to take all thoughts, impressions and affirmations from the thinker and mold an environment in the likeness of those thoughts. It creates effects from its received cause, the thinker or consciousness.

The thinker, or consciousness, is self-evident. It is, as the name implies, the thinker. That which reasons, deduces, extrapolates and analyses - it is what has been called the rational mind.

The other aspect of the soul is emotion or feeling. I make a distinction between emotion and Love. Love is not an emotional feeling. The soul is incapable of Love. Love is the natural state of the spirit. Spirit does not just love it is Love. Therefore, when I say I am spirit what I am really saying is I am Love. Just think of it. If every person on planet Earth could look in the mirror every single day and stare straight into their own physical eyes and say out loud with conviction "I am Love" what a jump in evolution this planet would experience in a relatively short amount of time. To do this daily would literally change the world around us because we would be tapping into an eternal truth of our true state of being.

So then, reason and emotion comprise the soul. The attributes of body and soul result from such factors as genetic heredity, cell memory, social class, upbringing, education, physical environment and so forth. They, however, pose no limitation on the spirit's ability to achieve its purpose since all these elements are a part of the contract we wrote and was witness before G-d and our helping spirits before setting out on this adventure.

Young Souls - Old Souls

I have heard one or both of these terms being used in reference to someone. I have used them myself and have heard them used to describe myself over the years. What makes its use so striking is when the term young soul is used to describe a person that is, chronologically speaking, older in physical years - or vice versa, a small child is referred to as an old soul.

What does young soul and old soul mean? After all, it has already been stressed that a spirit, which is what we are, is ageless and eternal. And, if it is true that the soul is a product resulting from the union of spirit and body then isn't every soul a new soul, therefore, a young soul? The answer is yes. Every soul is a new soul, Yet, the terms young soul and old soul are appropriate.

If every soul (reason and emotion) is new when an ageless, timeless, eternal spirit takes on the newly formed physical body, then why is it appropriate to call a person a young or old soul? These are simply terms in finite human speech to describe the spirit's experience level as a living soul. All spirits are eternal. A spirit has no beginning or end for it is the breath of G-d. Therefore, we are outside of time in terms of age. However, not every spirit has chosen to incarnate and some have had very limited human incarnation experiences while others have had a lot. A spirit that has been in clay on numerous occasions has 'downloaded,' if you will, far more human experience than one who has none or few human incarnations. Does this imply that the spirit with no or few incarnations is somehow lacking? Of course not. Every spirit is perfect. Every spirit who remains bathed in Light is complete, lacking in nothing. But, on this side of eternity, within the framework of this space-time continuum, it can make a significant difference. Remember that the term old soul and young soul is meaningless in the Eternal Now, beyond the veil, or the other side - whichever term best suits you. They only have meaning here in space and time.

Here is how it can be significant. When an ageless spirit incarnates for the first time or has had but few incarnations there is the constant danger of that spirit losing the perception of its true identity. This can also be a trip-wire for those with many incarnations under their proverbial belts, but it is more likely to occur with lesser-experienced spirits (those with fewer incarnations). How can an ageless, completed spirit possibly lose itself? While in a human body it is surprisingly easy. It begins to honestly believe that it is its intellect and its emotions. The spirit totally identifies itself to its human rationality and feelings. If it stoops low enough, as some have, its identity becomes completely attached to the physical body. This type cannot picture itself beyond the five physical senses of its human body. For these misguided individuals the fear of death is a constant devastation. The spirit who has its sense of self invested in its rational mind or emotions is under the delusion that if it cannot think or feel then it can no longer exist and all life has lost its meaning and purpose. I think the popular vernacular today is, "the quality of their life has been lost." That is why mental illness and such deteriorating and devastating diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's are so feared. If I hold to the belief that I am because I think and feel then my identity of Self is so tied to the intellect and emotions that if they cannot function "normally" then I am as good as dead already. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I have eternal intrinsic worth regardless of my mental, emotional or physical creation because I Am not any of these things.

The servants (body and soul) have become the Master of the house. This again is backward thinking. The Master of the house is I - myself, spirit. My five physical senses, reasoned thoughts and emotions are servants - tools to be used to aid the Master in its quest to accomplish its purpose. If spirit relinquishes its place of leadership soul and body will be more than happy to step in which leads to behavior and actions that mark the person as a young soul. Whenever spirit takes the reigns, which generally requires the experience of several or many physical incarnations, the behavior and wisdom found in the eyes of that human give it away as an old soul regardless of the person's chronological physical age.

Now that all this concerning the function of soul and body has been stated I must put in a disclaimer. These separations are easily discussed in this type of format but are not necessarily so readily noticeable by the individual in this busy hustle-bustle computerized 21st Century world. For any of this to become realizable and clear a little of our day must be set aside for some quiet time. This cannot be stressed enough. If we cannot make a little time for ourselves in quiet reflection or meditation then Self will remain buried under the weight of everyday life. Learn to listen to that still quiet inner voice then we can separate what is I from all the noise and clamoring of the intellect and emotions, as well as, the cravings of the physical senses. Begin to depersonalize without relinquishing personal responsibility. Recognize that that is an intellect with thoughts not true Self, and so forth. We must keep seeking, looking and knocking until we come to that place of Love and Peace that surpasses all understanding (reason/logic) and feeling (emotion). When we do, say "Hello Me, nice to meet you."

The Triune Function of Spirit (I)

It has been discussed in the previous paragraphs that we are spirit, not soul, nor are we just a functioning physical body. This keeps getting stressed simply because it is radically important to understand this. The ability to recognize ourselves as separate yet integrated with our thoughts and senses is central to understanding our True Self. The soul has been described with its capacity for reason and emotion. The physical body with its senses as tools of the spirit has been documented. What, if anything, are the capabilities of myself - I - a spirit being? I have already mentioned that spirit is Love which is the foundational nature of spirit being. Not all spirits exhibit this nature in a positive manifestation for a myriad of reasons, mainly because they have allowed or have chosen to allow darkness (obsessive self-interest) to obscure their ability to see themselves and the rest of creation for what it truly is - the manifestation of the One True Spirit, or what is generically termed G-d. While the nature of spirit, our True Self, is Love we do have three powerful capabilities - Knowing, Believing and Expectation With Anticipation. These three capabilities of spirit are known simply as Intuition, Faith and Hope.

They are the way in which we function at all times whether in a physical body or when we are in our real home. The greatest difference is that while human there are some who see these capabilities as aberrations that must be relegated to the background and conquered or "put in their place" by the domination of the intellect, emotion, or even to the senses of the physical body. When we recoil from these mortal shells then these three eternal functions of our true nature of Love work in perfect harmony and we are always perfectly guided and directed by them. However, while in these clay shells one of our goals is to become aware of these functions and allow them to become Master over the lesser tools of reason, emotion and body. A continued lack of this awareness only makes the accomplishment of our other returned for goal(s) more difficult to achieve creating the need for further incarnations until the lessons are learned and goals completed. To be honest it is not the only reason for the need for more incarnations but it can be one of the major causes.

-- Spirit Knows

Spirit knowledge is one of the hardest things to explain if we try and comprehend the information only with that soul tool called the rational mind. Spirit knowledge does not always appear rational or logical by human intellectual standards. It simply is. It is revealed information without the benefit of education, reading, studying, research or learning. The spirit acquires information in no other way. It knows. What's more, the information it knows is generally the type that reason would not, and in most cases, could not ever have on its own. For example: A mother adamantly refuses to allow her teenager to go on an innocent country drive with friends. It is a beautiful dry sunny day, not a cloud in the sky and yet she knows beyond all reasonable doubt that the vehicle they will riding in will be on a wet surface, swerve out of control, careen over an embankment killing everyone in the car. She can't explain this to her son and she doesn't even try because there is no rational explanation for what she knows to be fact. She just tells her son she has "a bad feeling" about the day trip. He storms off to his room in anger feeling his mother doesn't understand him or his needs. She calls the other parents and tries to convince them to keep their kids from going but fails to persuade them. Two hours later she receives a phone call with the terrible news that the car her son would have been a passenger in hit a slick spot on the road left by leakage from a truck. The boys were driving too fast, lost control and rolled over the small bluff crashing into the river below. All were killed on impact.

Stories like this are familiar to us all. Many labels have been placed on this cognitive ability. The most recognizable is intuition. Science has and continues to investigate such events. There is a whole branch of science called Parapsychology and Metaphysics dedicated to this kind of phenomenon. The traditional sciences have yet to be convinced that this ability resides outside the confines of the physical human brain because it goes beyond the logic of their empirical scientific mindset. For them anything outside their limited boundary of consistent repeatable probability simply cannot be. I do not fault them. As someone who was in the field of medical diagnostic physics for over forty years I appreciate the tried and true empirical method of research for establishing scientific physical fact. Yet, I also have come to appreciate, as many others in the scientific community have, that study concerning the things of the spirit seldom lends itself to the reducible lab value. This automatically eliminates it from the thoughts of most scientists as a serious field of study. For them it is just a bunch of "hocus pocus." They remind me of something stated by the late Martin Luther King, Jr: "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

However, some of the most renowned and admired scientists have admitted using spirit knowledge to reveal to them some of their greatest discoveries. In most cases these brilliant people struggled for some time, even years, over a problem. Using their awesome and well-ordered powers of deduction, reason and calculation they were unable to uncover the correct answer to their dilemma. Then, in a moment of quiet reflection or routine activity unrelated to their task, they simply knew the solution. Many times the answer was far removed from the direction their research or original thought processes were taking them. Famous scientist and inventor Thomas A. Edison claimed that most of his ideas came to him whenever he would relax his mind and body, shutting down the babbling noise of his eager thoughts and physical senses and listen to the still quiet unchanging voice deep within himself. Albert Einstein once made the same kind of observation concerning some of his most troublesome theories. He called it imagination but when you listen to his descriptions you realize he is talking about something far greater than mere mental imaginings. There is no great mystery here. Every spirit has this ability. It is more natural than breathing and more reliable than a heartbeat. I am spirit and spirit knows. I cannot help but know. Why? Because I am spirit and this is the only way spirit receives information.

Human language is a necessary thing but it can sometime limit the meaning a person is trying to convey. I stated in the last paragraph that the spirit receives information. Earlier I stated that spirit acquires information. This is not wholly accurate. I simply don't know how to phrase it better in a language the human brain can assimilate. So let me word it in a way in which a spirit can affirm -- Spirit receives nothing in the way of information. It knows. It knows the beginning from the end. It knows there is no beginning or end. Spirit knows all there is to know and all that is knowable, as well as, all this is unknowable. It simply - KNOWS! In the eternal Now this is an experienced reality. However, in this linear here and now this is not always the case. On this Earthly plane a spirit, of course, still knows. But, because we are so trained from birth to be identified with the intellect, emotions and physical body we are not always aware of this experientially, particularly those spirits that live in a Western influenced mindset. The keyword is 'aware.' In order to know I must become more aware of my True Self. Knowing should be the natural way I incorporate all information for digestion by the reasoning intellect. This intellect, being a tool of the spirit, will receive this information and try to make sense of it. That is its job. Reason should never take precedence over what I absolutely know. The fact that something may sound unreasonable does not negate the truth of it. For instance: There is a story in the Jewish Bible about a general who had a debilitating skin disorder (most likely advanced scleroderma). He was an enemy of Israel and had caused a great deal of calamity for the Jewish people with his military campaigns. One day while leading his troops he came across the house of a Jewish prophet. The prophet upon seeing the physical plight of the general instructed him to go into a nearby river, dip himself seven times in it and he would be healed of his infirmity. The general, after some hesitation, did as instructed and was healed. Why did he hesitate? If I were in his shoes wouldn't my second thought, after the first of distrust for an enemy, be "What a ludicrous suggestion. I have been to the best doctors in my country for this disorder for years and they couldn't heal me regardless of their many applications. Now this enemy tells me to dip seven times in this filthy river and I'll be healed? Ridiculous!" We can all appreciate the general's momentary reluctance. It simply made no rational sense and his emotions over taking the advice of an enemy had to be screaming out at him. Fortunately for the general he closed off his nagging logical mind and bellowing emotions and listened to himself, his True Self, and immediately knew the truth of the prophet's advice. He dipped seven times in the dirty river and was permanently healed.

Now, herein lies the danger. A young soul may risk confusing want and desire with spirit knowing and will blindly follow his impulse in spite of spirit using the intellect's reason to flash all kinds of warning signals. Even old souls are not totally immune from this. The major difference is that an old soul knows better but by choice succumbs anyway to the pull of soul and body. An old sage likened it to a thousand pound bull being led by a small child by the ring in its nose. Since the bull can feel the pull on the small ring he forgets what incredible strength he possesses within himself and he follows the impulse to allow himself to be lead away and mastered by the inferior.

Knowing is seldom an emotional impulse. It is Enlightenment!

The need for awareness is the highest priority in any incarnation if goal accomplishment is to be perfected. It will take some time and effort but becoming aware of what we eternally know is possible in the physical plane. While we are clothed in clay we will never know as fully experientially as we do in the Eternal Now but we can certainly raise the percentage. Science says most humans only use about three to five percent of their brain's capacity. That is like using a state-of-the-art holographic 3D CGI program on a computer still employing a 286 graphics card. Since the awareness of spirit knowledge is made manifest to the mind then the same analogy fits. By raising our awareness, or mental equivalent, then more of what we eternally know will be made available for use in the attainment of our goal(s). Freedom and order rests in knowing. One Jewish rabbi of the first century said that knowing the truth would set one free. What it will set us free from is the shackles of backward thinking that can only lead to doubt, fear, unhappiness and unrest. It doesn't matter if we are old souls, young souls or somewhere in-between - increasing awareness of what we know is imperative.

Spirit knowledge is not only the gateway to freedom it is vision, order and enlightenment. It was said over three thousand years ago that a people who lack vision would perish. It still holds true in this highly technocratic world of today and tomorrow. Perhaps, just for that reason alone, becoming aware is of utmost importance. Awareness removes confusion, dissolves chaos and is a harbinger of light. The one who knows and knows that he knows is never at the mercy of one with a clever, well reasoned argument. "You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free" - Yeshua ben Yosef

-- Faith and Hope: They Are Not the Same

The other two functions of spirit (our True Self) are Faith and Hope. As the above title might suggest there are those who think them to be the same thing. They are not and each have a vital role to play.

Someone once described faith as "the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." Every time I see this quote or hear it used by someone to describe faith I'm left flabbergasted that anyone could buy into that. This person's description always leaves me feeling like I was left wading in the shallow end of the pool when I'm ready to dive head first into the deep end to enjoy being thoroughly immersed in the warm waters. Maybe that was the intent of the author but I feel he stopped short since his dissertation never expanded on that initial sentence. While on the surface his statement may seem brilliant by those who have spent lifetimes studying it, when examined more closely it hardly says enough. Fortunately another sage took it up a notch and revealed the meat on the bone. Faith is not just a substance nor is it only some kind of nebulous evidence without solidity. This other writer grasped the truth of it and shouted out, "Faith without action is dead." Faith is an action and is revealed by an outward form of work that is based solely on what one knows - not what is understood or reasoned in the brain, felt by the emotions or sensed within the physical body. This action is taken even when it appears against all reason and all the odds. The general with the skin disease or the mother not allowing her son to go driving with his friends are perfect examples of this knowing-faith action connection. They knew and they acted upon what they knew. In other words, the True Self should always be in full control of its reality while the duty of the intellect, emotions and physical body is to obey their Master. Faith then can be properly defined as the cooperative action taken based upon what spirit knows. The spirit knows and it acts. Faith, unlike intuition (knowing) is not passive but is all action.

If spirit can be said to have emotion and I only use this term to help the intellect get itself around what follows, then Hope is the emotional function of spirit. Hope is the force behind the actions (Faith). It is the motivating drive and it springs eternal. Spirit is never without hope and hope never fails. Whereas, in the realm of the soul, reason and emotions will many times be in conflict, in spirit Knowledge, Faith and Hope are always in perfect harmony. The spirit knows, while hope is the underlying drive and expectation of the realized goal or outcome of the action (faith).

Intuition (knowing), Action (faith) and Expectation (hope) are the eternal functions of spirit (Love).

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About the author:

Samuel K. Sloan is a Jewish writer and political blogger living in the United States of America. He has been speaking and writing for over five decades examining the human condition from the viewpoint of the spiritual, religious and political impact these three disciplines have had on humanity during its tenure as the dominate species on planet Earth. He has been a radio broadcaster, executive news director and journalist and practiced Nuclear Cardiology and Medical technology for 42 years before his retirement in 2012. He is a military Vietnam-era veteran serving in the United States Air Force Security Service for six years and the United States Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery for another seven years.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Last Will and Testament of a Holocaust Survivor

Holocaust survivor Rachel Englard's Video Last Will and Testament to us all --

"TO REMEMBER and NEVER FORGET!!!".

[Translation available on YouTube by pressing cc.]