Reflections:   January 2013.    1st Qtr 2013

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New Year and 14th Bak’tun Salutations Relatives,

As we approached the Solstice in December of last year, I was intrigued by the spate of predictions in the media (a veritable frenzy) and the equally amplified commentaries, “special” ceremonies and mounting consumerism in the New Age communities regarding the impending apocalypse. Human beings have a penchant for reactivity and sensationalism, enamored by that which portends death and destruction. As I articulated in a previous reflection (refer to the third quarter of 2009), based upon misreading and misinterpretation (for the Mayan elders were not being consulted), the hype and hysteria was purely a fabrication of the Western colonial world - yet another glaring example of the disregard and disrespect for Indigenous cosmologies, knowledge and ways of living. The Mayan daykeepers did not prophesize the end of the world; they merely reported that a cycle of time- namely the 13th Bak'tun of their long count calendar (the Mayans have four different systems of monitoring and recording time)- was nearing completion. It heralded the conclusion of an era and the commencement of yet another- the focus of which is upon humanity transcending self-importance and self absorption (one of the motifs of the 13th Bak'tun) to the possibility of achieving collective awakening by embracing and realizing community, cooperation and interdependence. An invaluable intention and Dream for all of us to realize in this new year and vaster span of time.

I find some of the reactions to the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT disturbing. The statement by the executive vice president of the NRA that” the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is utterly ridiculous. Serves only to perpetuate the problem. In response, I cite the eloquent and succinct Buddha in the Dhammapada: "…never does hatred [violence] cease by hatred [violence]… hatred [violence] ceases by love; this is an eternal law ". Rather than distracting ourselves with senseless speculation, criticism and analysis, far wiser and compassionate to direct our attention and support upon the 26 innocent and brave souls who have made their journeys Home through this unconscionable carnage as well as the countless grieving families and friends whose experience of the holidays has now been inexorably altered. Ceremonies have and will continue to be conducted - My prayers are with all of them.

People utterly transfixed, gazing at the screens of their mobile devices while walking a nature trail or sidewalk, oblivious and unaware of the world (beauty as well as obstacles) around them...a couple sitting across from each other in a restaurant, madly texting for the entire duration, neither speaking and engaging directly nor taking a moment to savor the meal and ambiance...children and teens sequestering and isolating themselves to play video games even in the midst of a group (literally for hours and days on end) and theater goers unable to even depart the auditorium before powering the devises back on to check e-mail...a consumer interrupting a conversation or transaction with a proprietor to accept a call...people utilizing the impersonal medium of the internet to curtail professional, tutelary and intimate relationships...truth is, we are addicted and enslaved by modern technology. We are not its masters. It is a tool we have allowed to control and dominate our lives. Bear in heart and mind I am certainly not a Luddite (after all I am employing a computer to compose this), however, it is a matter of moderation - balanced usage coupled with sensitivity, respect and awareness of one's surroundings (and the beings who share the space with you). There is an appropriate time and place for this contemporary technology- not, however, when it is at the expense of our awareness and humanity - of human contact and connection - or the earth for that matter (when the latest technology becomes obsolete and finds its way into landfills). So for all of the electronic gadgets we receive this season - ironically intended to assist us in connecting and communicating more efficiently- cultivate the necessary balance, discipline, self restraint, courage, awareness and respect (for self and others) to disengage and power them down in order to become engaged and empowered by the greatest art and gift of all – one’s presence and full attention - the ability to communicate directly, to talk story he alo a he alo (face to face as the Indigenous people of Hawaii encourage), to share and relate to one another qua human beings. In so doing, rather than becoming a slave to the very technology we have devised, we employ it skillfully and with mastery.

Prayers for our collective awakening and the realization of our true humanity and kinship with all of Creation in this novel era.

Chief Tsunka Wakan Sapa

Last updated Jan 08, 2013