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Nothing can Equal the Gore Sequel

 

Many of us who saw Al Gore’s Academy Award winning, An Inconvenient Truth, have long awaited his sequel entitled An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, which was released in theaters at the end of July. 

In some ways the film could not hold a candle to the original since almost every environmentalist or Gore follower knew from the beginning what the sequel would say and more or less how it would say it. Al has always been a straight-shooter with occasional cleverness, who focuses upon an issue, makes a case, and then backs it with foothills of personal anecdotes, a plateau of logic and a mountain of evidence. 

In that sense, the sequel follows the Gore formula with a mix of family stories on the farm, updated counter-argument to his critics, some important common sense rationales, and then—by going country to country and showing important data—he slam dunks his opposition with the evidence. 

But of far greater importance is his topic. Al has chosen to let us know that “the sky is falling” even more drastically than before and unlike Chicken Little, he has a crucial and accurate story to tell. This time his evidence has only become even more plentiful and convincing.

In short with the help of Davis Guggenheim and many of his other original backers, Al uses his sequel to show how his original predictions and those of many environmental scientists have come true.  Climate change and global warming are not just SOP (the state of the planet) but they have an increasingly devastating impact on locations worldwide.

And the evidence? Gore’s critics laughed at his original prediction that Manhattan would be flooded by the ocean. And yet, he shows the footage of such relatively recent flooding. His predictions about the streets of Miami and more locations have also come true. We see islands which have been evacuated, land decimated and a Paris agreement which was first threatened by India and later abandoned by the Trump administration. On every corner and continent there is hard journalistic evidence.

But the “inconvenient” films also bring a message of hope. At the end of the original Gore showed how slavery, apartheid, and Berlin’s wall all came down. So there is a sense that no hurdle is too high to overcome when human beings make important changes in behavior. Similarly, in the sequel he shows that despite a major roadblock to world agreement at the Paris Environmental Conference, a major breakthrough occurred and the world’s nations made substantial changes. Gore also shows examples of countries and cities (including within “the reddest city in the reddest county of Texas”) which have shifted to natural, alternative and renewable energy in ways which provide promising precedents worldwide.

Why is this so important to the world of primal spirituality? First, if Al Gore and the many scientists he represents are accurate, and I have no reason to doubt them, then we will soon have no world in which to be spiritual. Next, our primal bond is both with and born of our earthly home, one which is being largely desecrated and violated. Thirdly, the rape of the earth is in great need of our spiritual enfoldment and personal action. Gore always gives practical and effective examples of how such action may take place….no matter how inconvenient.

Both films seem at first to be about climate change but they are actually about personal change. And such change is the core of the truly spiritual life. The world cannot change unless I do. My lazy habits, materialist approach and focus upon getting whatever I want, all prevent a giving and kind culture in my world and my behavior is a model for the rest of the world as well. At the core of global warming is not environmental science but rather human avarice and self-concern.

If I can let go of such acquisitiveness and self-obsession to see clearly my effects upon other people and species, I can have far more impact upon those I teach by example—and upon the species perishing every day—than if I dispense knowledge and warning without making personal change in my choices, actions, and attitude.

Films that matter such as this one should be strongly supported. There are billionaires, politicians, and paid publicists who seek to trivialize and belittle such films through their own propaganda campaigns and smear tactics. It is important that planetary citizens provide a counter-balancing support to courageous change agents such as Al Gore. Part of making a difference is in giving solidarity to those who already have made a substantial difference.

Similarly, film-makers cannot be timid in that regard. The great playwright George Bernard Shaw said something like this: It is not only important that audiences be shocked occasionally; it is essential that they be shocked perpetually. Al Gore’s films play the important part of shocking us into an awakening about the dire consequences of our gluttonous history as a species. Only a return to primal spirituality and a culture of giving can temper the wide-spread human morass of over-consumption and acquisition.

If you haven’t seen An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, bring your whole family, neighborhood, and nation.

 

-Tom Cooper

 


TOM COOPER is currently guest scholar at the East-West Center, University of Hawaii, Stanford and Berkeley and professor at Emerson College (Boston).  Musician, black belt, and playwright, he has written eight books and two hundred published articles, been advisor to the Elders Project (with Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and others),  co-nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and is co-publisher of MEDIA ETHICS magazine.


 

 

 

 

The Perfection of Oneness

 

To have a conscious understanding of what oneness is, it’s helpful to have an understanding of what oneness isn’t: duality. There is one and there is two, oneness and duality. Duality is a misperception of polarity. Polarity is a spectrum where there are polar opposites at each end. In duality, something can be one thing but not the other. And yet in oneness, both ends are simply different expressions of the same spectrum.

One of the areas where I can see the difference between oneness and duality is in space and time. You’re not too early, you’re not too late—you’re right on time. In oneness, there is only this present moment, right now. That’s actually the only time we really can experience creation. But the mind can get in there and tell us that’s not actually the only reality that we’re in. What about the past and the future? The mind will try to convince us that there’s something else going on—that for some reason we’re not perfect and present right now. Being present specifically relates to space and time. And I think that one of the benchmarks for understanding oneness is perfection—to recognize and see perfection. Everything is perfect right now in this present moment and it could be no other way, or else it would be.

In space, there is the relationship between something that’s over there, that way or this way. Only I cannot experience something that is over there because I am here, not there. So once again, I cannot experience creation in any other place than right here, right now. And yet, the mind will tell us that we are in some way missing out on a better experience of creation over there because we are here. It can tell us that here is not as perfect of an experience as it could be if we were over there. We can let go of the idea that creation has to be some other way, that there is some other factor, some other place, some other time, in order for us to be able to experience perfection. We have the opportunity to move out of duality into oneness and realize that what’s happening right here and now is already perfect. I can realize that reality if I allow myself to see the perfection that is present rather than trying to make what’s present fit into my own idea of what perfection could be.

Another major way that I see the difference between oneness and duality is inside of our own mental perceptions of what is. I believe this is what’s being referred to in the Bible as the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Good, evil; good, bad; right, wrong; better than, less than. As soon as I fall into the trap of seeing my world through the lens of the realm of duality, then I exit out of the ability to see the is-ness or oneness of it all. Everything just is. All things simply are as they are. Creation is perfect exactly as it is, even if it doesn’t seem to meet my own personal preferences. I can let go of the ideas of trying to shift my world and the people in it into some form that I think they should be. I don’t have to try to change everything all the time so that it fits my own ideas of what is right rather than wrong. I don’t have to try to change what I see as bad things into good things or judge what might be showing up as less than into something that I think would be better.

I can let all of that go… if I can recognize that there is a voice inside my mind acting as an imposter, which is operating out of this duality perspective. The tools that this voice of duality is using are judgment and comparison. It’s comparing this to that, early to late, here to there, and everything else. When I listen to that voice, I fall into a trap and pull myself out of the ability to be present, to experience the perfection that’s available and exists in a state of oneness. And because of that, I’m scattered all over the place, lost within the illusion of duality, without a focal point to create from.

It’s my intention to be more aware, to be more conscious. It’s my call to myself and to all sentient beings to be more aware and conscious; to watch the mind, to watch the emotions, to see when we fall into that trap—when we’re speaking from and listening to the voice of the tyrant within ourselves, criticizing everything around us and then spreading that out onto others and into the world. I call to recognize it because it happens—we’re human. In fact, everybody’s doing it. It’s almost like we pretend that it’s okay because everybody’s doing it.

I know that we are here to stand for something different. We are WayShowers, paving and showing the way for a new experience of life. That takes courage and strength, to stand up against the way that it has always been, the way everyone else is doing it. That’s not necessarily about standing up against something outside oneself, fighting the structures of the world or anything that you see might be ‘wrong.’ It’s about standing up inside of oneself and taking that step into oneness. It’s about allowing oneself to see the perfection of what already is in the moment, here and now—standing for that, expressing that, living from that. Inside of that stance is where peace and true power is found. I can have a conscious understanding of some of these things, but if I’m not actually living in alignment, then I don’t really know it. It’s not really real for me in my life, even though it’s actually the only thing that is real. The One Reality.

So I want to step out of illusion into reality. I want to step out of duality into oneness. I want to step out of judgment and comparison into allowance and the embracing of what’s already there. Perfection—it’s in me and it’s in you and all of creation, everywhere and all the time. We are One and we are perfect!

 

-Gary Goodhue

 


Gary Goodhue is a student and teacher of consciousness and creation. He focuses on bringing deep principles of Truth and Love into practical, every day application. The results are increased presence, clarity, peace, focus and power.


 

 

 

 

Living in the World

 

Living in a world of contemplation may seem like a luxury. I have the privilege of sharing my home with around 100 other souls who have made some level of commitment to clarifying their thinking, feeling, and opening to the possibilities of spirit. I understand the gift I have been given but of course it is up to me to take that gift to heart.

At Sunrise Ranch, we live in the change of themes, as if topics for contemplation drift in on the wings of seasonal winds. Lately I have felt a breeze in the swirl of considerations that has blown in from other communities with which I have connections. The topic of which I refer is well stated in the Integral Philosophy of Ken Wilber, and the flavor of it recurs in the processes at Sunrise Ranch; Evolution of the individual moves from Waking Up, to Growing Up, to Cleaning up, to Showing up.

Recently, David Karchere spoke to participants of the Full Self-Emergence class about the two channels through which we experience the flow of life spirit; the emotional and the mental. They both are receiving the gift of animating life force in different modalities.

This roughly equates to the right-brain and left-brain functions in the human physical body. Right-brain is concerned primarily with a feeling and connection mode of experience, closely tied to the messages from the heart and emotions. The left-brain is the discriminating, calculating, and measuring side of the brain, much more connected to abstract concepts and learned patterns which it applies to the perception of the senses. If you have experienced ‘being’ as the blessed spark of awareness, you may interpret it when if flows through you as emotional or conceptual on the way for acting in the world. Mental, emotional and spiritual eventually ground in the physical as we flow through our modalities (be they concepts or feelings).

Obviously a ‘whole’ person needs to also have a holistic complementary interaction with left and right brain and not a fixation on one way of being. We are manifesting from these channels and if we are stuck on the ‘thinking’ left brain we might feel as if we live only from the neck upward.

I want to consider the notions of the Integral Philosophy in this context.

When we Wake Up, it is a faculty of mental acuity, we recognize from the perspective of the Being we are what the present moment offers. The opposite of waking up is ‘asleep and dreaming,’ in which we sleep-walk through our lives, programmed by the past. Waking up is also a faculty of the feeling capacity, we don’t have to conceptualize the present moment from a past perspective but can instead have the stark clarity and appreciation of ‘the now’ as a feeling presence. The appreciation of the present might be an appraisal of sorts but the quality of the present is the feeling of appreciation itself—a sincere curiosity about the phenomena in the world. The quality of the feeling of appreciation could also be called Unconditional Love, it is a connection with what we are experiencing and not separate from it. Waking Up!

Growing Up requires that we awaken to the possibility of something outside of our condition-response way of living. No matter how sophisticated we have become at crafting a great personality, if we cannot get outside the safety zone of that personality to experience creative possibility then we are trapped. I consider ‘growing up’ to be the development of an orientation and attitude. As such, it is a mental exercise of logic and also a feeling of empowerment.

The orientation of growing up, I see in the moments when I recognize that the world is not ‘happening to me’ but in fact, I am experiencing the world through my filters. I am creating that world. The attitude of growing up is that instead of protecting my wounded parts, I can see those tender triggers as what they are, false limitations in a limitless consciousness. In other words, my attitude can be one of appreciative inquiry instead of defense mechanisms. Another way to explain this is that when I am riled up emotionally about what others are doing, it’s a good clue that the irritation reflects something I am protecting in myself which I am hiding from my awareness by blaming the external world, aka ‘the shadow.’

Cleaning up is all about the invitation from our evolving consciousness to stop being self-centered. That appreciative impulse of tempered unconditional love needs to be radiated outward to our world. We must see where our perceived limitations have caused damage, be accountable, and love that into repair. Cleaning up is action born of understanding the growing up we have done and appreciating the quality in others and the environment. Cleaning up requires compassion for our sorry state and if possible a sense of humor. It requires a sense of caring for the world of which we are a part. If you have not grown up, you probably are still focused only on your own personal needs and are likely not cleaning up.

Showing Up is a wonderful term. To me this is akin to the sense of equanimity and grace that lets you channel your future self into the present world. You no longer hide the brilliance and uniqueness that makes you wonderful. You let it out into the present moment and in showing up you also exercise knowledge about the other stages; you see what needs to be cleaned up in the moment, you see where others are in their process of waking up and growing up. You perceive these factors in others and yourself without criticism because showing up requires that you are IN THE FLOW of the moment not two steps back judging what is occurring.

These principles are so dear to all the personal and community work that we are doing on this planet. They deserve some contemplation time.

I have the great opportunity and privilege of sharing my home with 100 other souls who have made some level of commitment to clarifying their thinking and feeling and opening up to the possibilities of spirit.  I have the opportunity to practice waking up, do you?

 

-Atom Terpening

 


Atom Terpening has over 30 years of experience as a software and database developer and project manager in the healthcare and non-profit, association-management industries. Most recently he worked as the Corporate Information Officer of a company, CMI, that manages membership and events for non-profit health care associations. Atom is a proud father of two grown children and a new granddaughter named Ziggy, and he has spent most of his adult life developing a practice of awakened consciousness through mindfulness, heartfulness and appreciation for the miracle of life.


 

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