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Prohibition and the Natural Experiment: Interview with Thomas O’Connell, MD

On Monday January 6, 2014, I had the opportunity with my partner Elaine to host Radio Consciencia from 9 –  10 AM PST on Radio KBBF FM 89.1 as substitutes for the regular host and producer of the show, Evelina Molina.  Elaine interviewed Attila Nagy in the first half hour on the upcoming annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at the Santa Rosa High School on January 19, 2014.

I have done radio before in San Jose, California as a programmer and member of the Board of Directors of Community Radio KKUP FM 91.5 in late 80’s and early 90’s with a show called Hum Drum, showcasing percussion based and primitive music genres.  So I am excited how the muse will work with me now.

I posted the second half of the show portion with Dr. O’Connell on my Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_FxnPYOf08


On the second half of the show I interviewed Dr. Thomas O’Connell, MD, a retired thoracic surgeon, who developed an interest in marijuana, or as it is scientifically named cannabis, and its prohibition.  Tom was recruited in 1999 to serve the burgeoning number of applicants seeking recommendation letters from licensed physicians for treating diseases with marijuana as stipulated by the recently passed  by 56% of the voters in their initiative Proposition 215, called the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and now codified into California State Law.  I know Dr. Tom since I was was one of his first patients in 1999 seeking such a recommendation letter for an autoimmune disease for which I found smoking or ingesting the herb relieved the painful, emotional and socially inconvenient symptoms.

Equa Rights for Cannabis Users

In this half-hour segment of the show, Dr. Tom describes the history of prohibition of cannabis and his  search of discovery of its use in society and then among his own patients.  Dr. Tom’s forte, as he told me, is taking appropriate medical histories, and he used this passion of his to develop a database of standardized questions he came up with after a couple of years of interviewing patients for recommendation letters for cannabis therapy.  His database holds over 7,200 patient histories, categorized in a database for analysis, careful to abide by medical privacy laws.  He shares with us the insights he has gained about the efficacy of cannabis for treating anxiety, especially for teenagers and adults dealing with paternal deprivation, and most recently he discovered how many patients are treating symptoms of their autoimmune diseases, that now number over a hundred, for which there is one that affects each of the organs of the body and afflicts over 20% of Americans.  His experiences counters the dogma not based on medical science promoted by President Nixon as the basis for scheduling drugs in the Controlled Substance Act he pushed through Congress in 1970, in whose Schedule 1 of harmful drugs of no medical use  he placed cannabis and other psychedelic drugs to spite the pot-smoking hippy peace activists resisting his authority.  Take a listen to the show with Dr. Tom.  I will continue the interview with him in Part 2 next Monday January 13 starting around 9:30 am PST into the show.  Check out Dr. Tom’s blog at

Elaine and  I sandwiched the show for educational purposes in with Quicksilver Messenger Service’s performance of What About Me from 1970, some 44 years ago and as prescient as ever.  Check out the lyrics below:

Written By: Jesse Oris Farrow / From The Album: “What About Me”

Recorded: October 8, 1970 / Released: December, 1970
You poisoned my sweet water. Dm
You cut down my green trees.
The food you fed my children Dm
Was the cause of their disease.
My world is slowly fallin’ down Dm
And the air’s not good to breathe.
And those of us who care enough, Dm
We have to do something…

Am Dm
Oh… oh What you gonna do about me?
Am Dm
Oh… oh What you gonna do about me?

Your newspapers,
They just put you on.
They never tell you
The whole story.
They just put your
Young ideas down.
I was wonderin’ could this be the end
Of your pride and glory?

I work in your factory.
I study in your schools.
I fill your penitentiaries.
And your military too!
And I feel the future trembling,
As the word is passed around.
“If you stand up for what you do believe,
Be prepared to be shot down.”

And I feel like a stranger
In the land where I was born
And I live like an outlaw.
And I’m always on the run…
And I’m always getting busted
And I got to take a stand…
I believe the revolution
Must be mighty close at hand…

I smoke marijuana
But I can’t get behind your wars.
And most of what I do believe
Is against most of your laws
I’m a fugitive from injustice
But I’m goin’ to be free.
‘Cause your rules and regulations
They don’t do the thing for me

And I feel like a stranger
In the land where I was born
And I live just like an outlaw.
And I’m always on the run.
And though you may be stronger now, my time will come around.
You keep adding to my numbers, and you shoot my people down.


Our town of Santa Rosa just witnessed the shooting and killing of 13-year old Andy Lopez on a sunny afternoon as he was walking on a privately owned vacant lot bothering nobody, as least no from the neighborhood called 911, and a Sheriff deputy drives up from behind, reports the suspect, and in 3 seconds begins firing his automatic gun so 7 bullets enter the kid, the first killing him as the boy turned to discern who was calling him.  The numbers are adding as that last stanza proclaimed in the song.

The militarization of the police in urban and rural America is the result of the Drug War initiated in 1970 by President Richard M. Nixon and his Attorney General Mitchell on their belief that certain drugs were bad because they were habit-forming, ignoring the fact that gold, and oxygen and water are habit-forming, too.  Through his Executive Order he created the DEA and NIDA, as the enforcement and brain trust defending Nixon’s dogma.  SWAT teams and black helicopters became standard equipment on city and village police forces through generous federal grants.  And worse, it froze research into the the efficacy of more than one plant’s molecules for treating  human illnesses , often without side effects of prescription drugs developed under the prohibition of more efficacious drugs.

The Controlled Substance Act to replace the SCOTUS declared unconstitutional Marijuana Tax Stamp Act was based solely on President Nixon’s belief in habitual use being bad and that hippies against his Vietnam War and authority had to be punished.  As a result we have 20% of Americans being deprived of the medicine that truly can suppress inflammation while modulating the immune system (not suppressing it like steroids do!) and deprived of human research to substantiate the results gained from studies of mice in university research held around the world.  And we have teenagers and young adults who are dealing with anxieties due to paternal deprivation, however it causes that perception among the developing children.  Certainly self-medication for the anxiety by cannabis is preferable to alcohol and tobacco and worse.  Since when is relaxation bad?  Even the Jesus of the Gospels repeats over and over again “Fear Not”.  Of Course, improving father and child relationships is primal, but that is tied in with the societal norms and the economic pressures for demanding the father to be absent from the home and assume military service will make a man out of him in stead of mentoring by the father.

If you are suffering from any of the autoimmune diseases, give cannabis a try and work for decriminalizing this plant that has been an ally to humans for millenia.  I posted the show portion with Dr. O’Connell on my Youtube channel at http://youtu.be/BtQqNQ89Px8

Post your comments and let’s get a discussion going that includes elected representatives and entrenched bureaucrats standing to lose income from familiar sources if budget priorities are shifted from Drug War tactics.

I posted the second half of the show portion with Dr. O’Connell on my Youtube channel at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_FxnPYOf08

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Review of Revelations

Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of RevelationRevelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation by Elaine Pagels

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I appreciate this scholar of the Nag Hammadi scrolls describe the context of John of Patmos’ Revelation: the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple was in recent memory; the persecution of the followers of Christ by the Roman Emperors; the existence of other books of revelation and their groups of adherents hoping for some kind of salvation from the Roman empire rule; and the complaints of Jewish followers about Gentile followers of Christ that Paul was bringing into the faith that indicates disunity among the early sects. The author then describes how the term “Satan” that was originally intended to be the Roman Empire by John of Patmos, was then used by early Christian bishops to mean heretics among the followers of Christ. Orthodox bishops won the battle of including the Book of Revelation in the New Testament canon under the tutelage of Emperor Constantine, in fact at the very end for importance, and then moved to outlaw with the power of the Emperor execution all the other books circulating among followers of Christ. The new religion became the Empire’s religion, by the 4th century AD Satan meant no longer the empire but dissidents of the empire religion. Question is, why settle for the empire graft of the 4th century and not know more about the roots?

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Aleut Native Elder Larry Merculieff speaks on bringing back the sacred feminine

Venus of Willendorf is estimated to have been made between 24,000 and 22,000 BCE.

Venus of Willendorf is estimated to have been made between 24,000 and 22,000 BCE.Venus of Willendorf

Aleut Native Elder Larry Merculieff speaks in this 15-minute video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en4TKmldjrM on bringing back the sacred feminine.  He describes how the tribal women would dance on the outside of the circle forming for sacred work in order to move the Cosmic Womb Energy present in their wombs into the center of the circle, so the formation work could be done to go into the future in a good way.

He also talks about the Stillness and its role in the sacred creation work.  In the Stillness, there is no thought or emotion, and it is there where you make a decision with your whole being.  In the Stillness, we become aware of subtle energies or patterns.  He wondered who would make the masks, as all their Aleut mask makers were gone.  He brought this question into the Stillness, and with his whole being intention seeking an answer, he received images of masks in his mind.  He asked a elder in his tribe, and the elder said that he had come into consciousness of the Cosmic Womb.  It is the cauldron where creation is “cooked” into manifestation.

Link to Larry Metculieff’s bio

We need a balancing in our world.  We each have belly button to remind us of our umbilical connection through our mother, her mother, and her mother’s mother back to the original Mama.  How were we ever satisfied with referring to God as he, when nature shows us that all species require the feminine, she.  We did through belief of male priestly authorities instead of trusting our direct experience.

Sunflower navel - photo by Kenneth E. Norton 2013

Sunflower navel – photo by Kenneth E. Norton 2013

We can see how far away we are from truth by noticing that more women in the USA were killed through domestic violence of their husbands than the total women killed in the USA wars against Iraq and Afghanistan during the same period of time.

Remember your navel.  Are you grateful you have one?   Remember your mother, are you grateful for her.  Remember the  Mother of all the Cosmos.   Enter into the great fullness of her to continue birthing creation.

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Wiricuta and right relationship

A teacher of mine, Tomas Pinkson, sent me the following on his experience in Wiricuta.  It is my intent to walk in balance with Nature and Spirit.

hola relatives – thought some of you might find of interest the below comments extracted from a review i was asked to do for an upcoming issue of a European journal on eco-psychology focused on consciousness and psychedelics.

” I want to share an experience i had in Wiricuta (the Huichol Indian holy land) that speaks to the power of place, linguistic determinacy and right relationship with the land and spirits where one lives.

On my first or second pilgrimage ( i made nine in all so far ) i sat there in ceremonial circle around Tatéwari (Grandfather Fire) at Wiricuta deep into the medicine (the Huichol use peyote as a sacred sacrament) alternately closing my eyes for inner travel and then opening them to take in the beauty of what was there before me – Grandfather Fire and the Huichols surrounding me, young and old, babies, teenagers, elders, families, the presiding shaman, all dressed in their beautiful sacred clothing with the deer, peyote, maize decorations adorning their apparel. I was transfixed in ecstatic consciousness.

When i closed my eyes at one point I saw in vision that the spirit energy of the land there flowed into the peyote which when eaten by the People and in turn flowed out of them as their language. I saw that the figures on their clothing were pictorial images of this energy and that the language-energy of the place provided the guidance and understanding of how to be in right relationship with it, i.e.. to live in respectful harmony and balance sustaining healthy life for future generations. The “instructions” were in the actual language of the land coming into the people through the medicine and then flowing out from them as their words and visual images on their clothing. I took all this in with amazement, then opened my eyes and saw before me the exact portrayal in the “external” world as i had just seen in the “internal” one – there were the people singing the language of the land and wearing the language of the land which was all interwoven as one in how they lived. Very beautiful to say the least! Deep ecology for sure.

Terence McKenna’s suggestion that we model human behavior after plant behavior taking seriously the information contained within them concerning the nature of the world needs to be heeded in these challenging times. It takes us into the much needed resacralization of the feminine Gaian Goddess consciousness – Earth Mother – birther of life, honoring of the feminine, womb of the universe, or is it yoni-verse?, that the patriarchy has raped and oppressed (as the Greek myth cutting off the head of Medusa when in fact we need to put her head back on for she dances as does Shiva in the dance of life and death and rebirth).

A symbiotic accord and relationship with nature and the “gnosis of the vegetable mind” operating in the Western society and cultures is starting to happen with the sweeping popularity of ayahuasca around the world, a significant opening in which this wisdom guidance is reaching more and more people of all walks of life.


Contact for Tomas:  drtompinkson.com

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Transformation with Psychedelics

I am grateful for my having chosen natural and synthesized plant medicine psychedelic journeys with experienced guides and trusted companions into the Great Fullness to work out old judgments I had formed or were given to me as a child trusting parents, church, schools, and peers that blocked the experience of life with mental and emotional filters of how life “should” be, and am grateful that I avoided trips to the psychiatrist for pharmaceutical experiments on mood control best suited for the empire.  I wanted to know for myself and not from other opinions who I was and what this life was.  I asked and received, sought and found, within and “at-hand”.

It’s too bad Nixon blocked himself with power criteria from understanding this healing method by placing the psychedelics and cannabis/marijuana in Schedule 1 with no healing abilities in the Controlled Substance Act, the basis for the Drug War. The US then strong-armed the UN to follow suit for international enforcement. No wonder the world is sick, mentally sick!

Examining data on more than 130,000 Americans in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Department of Neuroscience found that the use of psychedelic drugs not only doesn’t contribute to mental illness, but also may actually have a protective effect against it.

Psychedelic Drugs Linked to Lower Risk of Mental Illness

Photo by Kenneth E. Norton

Photo by Kenneth E. Norton

I hope more people discover the healing available in Nature: A dab of honey, a bite into a fresh pear or peach, an embrace, drinking a sun tea of flowers, standing up when injustice is experienced, a walk along the creek, discovering an edible mushroom, hello to an old friend, sending loving vibrations to another, picking a fruit off a cactus, fresh juiced plants and salads, and frequent visits to your still place within.

I actually prefer now those frequent visits within to the stillness, to remind me of the reference point that can truly gauge the value and source of thoughts and feelings arising in me in any moment. My favorite technique is the Breath of Mindfulness, developed by Thich Nhat Hanh, as it is simple and self-instructive, perfect for the kids and staff at the orphanage he founded in Vietnam that was being bombed by both the north and south forces during the war.  One says the indicated word or phrase at inhaling and another one at exhaling, and repeat so the mind stills.  When you say “smile”, really smile physically as it helps produce endorphins.   It is great to stop emotionally fueled stories.  The breathing grounds the concepts.

Breathe In,                     Breathe Out
Deep,                               Slow
Calm,                                Ease
Smile  (ear to ear!)        Release
Present Moment,        Precious Moment

The psychedelic journeys reinforced the importance of knowing this stillness within, and I am glad they were available to me on my spiritual journey.   I learned the value of acknowledging the four directions to set an inner compass in myself associated with nature’s compass, along with a note to myself that I chose to use this method and the journey can last for many hours and will pass.   In a state of confusion I could settle down by recognizing the natural directions again, my place on Earth.  Remember to do the Breath of Mindfulness if you feel trapped by an emotional upset.  Also remember to be mindful of the risks the Drug War laws present, and to wait some days for integration of the experience into your life before entering  into life changing agreements with others.


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Parable of the Worm

What if we had more respect for the worm?

[and so did the Gospel of John author?]

                                                     Parable of the Worm

In the beginning was the Worm, and the Worm was with Gardener, and the Worm was Gardener.

He [who was also she] was with Gardener in the beginning.

Through her all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

In her was life, and that life was the pulse of all creation.

There was a human sent from Gardener whose name was John.

He came as a witness to testify concerning that pulse, so that through her all might believe.

He himself was not the pulse; he came only as a witness to the pulse.

The true pulse that vibrates pulse to everyone was coming into the world.

She was in the world, and though the world was made through her, the world did not recognize him.

She came to that which was her own, but her own did not receive him.

Yet to all who did receive her, to those who believed in his name, she gave the right to become worms of Gardener—

worms born not of natural descent, nor of individual decision or of a dominator’s will, but born of Gardener.

The Worm ate what was alive and made his dwelling among us.

We have seen her castings, the castings of the one and only Worm, who came from the Garden, full of grace and truth.

(John testified concerning her. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because she was before me.’”)

Out of his fullness we have all received castings in place of grace already given.

For the law was given through a leader of humans; castings and truth came through Worm.

No one has ever seen Gardener, but the one and only Worm, who is herself Gardener and is in closest relationship with the Garden, has made Gardener known.

[© 2013 Kenneth E. Norton; Based on Gospel of John Chapter 1, New International Version]

Note:  I have a worm bin full of red wigglers.  The worms eat what was once alive, our food scraps and newspapers,  and their poo-poo is called castings, which are very rich in nutrients and microorganisms for the vegetable garden producing more life to nourish our bodies’ life.  Red worms are hermaphroditic, meaning, they have both female and male sex organs, although  it still takes two to mate.  This reminds me of the First Genesis account in Genesis 1, So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.   Words are symbols.  Please do not get upset if as a Poet I use another name for the notion of God which cannot be contained in one word or name.  Consider this a Parable of the Worm.  I am currently in a study group at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, so this gospel is coursing through my being, tested by my intuition within and my experience at-hand, and a whole lot of questioning of authority.

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 In the beginning was the word, the word was with God, the word was God.

word is a symbol to communicate meaning among humans
objectification exists with the word
therefore the search back to oneself
never to find as long as one seeks it in the word
for the word will say here or there
us and them
God and us
In the beginning of warring times was the word
our God and their god
us and them
rah rah team
beat them
There is a time out of word
a time of stillness
no word, no sentence,
a time to breathe
and release emotion
a time of sound with no meaning and lots of feeling
a time of plenty for all
and a sense of  all in each I.

Kenneth E. Norton

P027.   Word;  Santa Rosa; 7/31/13; having heard a wonderful chant by Priest Steven Bookvich (aka world class musician Muruga Booker) on John 1:1-18, currently in a discussion group on the Gospel of John at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, and waiting to for Connie and Andrew who authored The Trust Frequency to visit.

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Ripples of Someone

My loving partner Elaine and I went to the viewing of the documentary film Arlene Francis:  That Certain Something  at the center named after her by her son Peter Gabel.  A special treat was the pre-viewing jazz performed by the film producer Jackie Sanders with her band the Bordeaux Blues.    Jackie related in between some French songs she sang that one evening after a performance someone remarked that she reminded him of Arlene Francis.  She did not know much about Arlene being from a younger generation.  The very next morning her husband had been watching a game show when Jackie walked into the room and saw a rerun of the TV show What’s My Line, and this timing of exposures to Arlene Francis sparked her interest that then turned into a film.

I  so enjoyed the atmosphere that Peter Gabel is co-creating with the staff and community of Santa Rosa, that I did some digging at the website of the The Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art, and Politics.  I have discovered “familiar spirits” at the center and in their guiding philosophy.

Peter Gabel was the President of New College and knew about the sale of the historic building in Old Railroad Square of Santa Rosa, as it was the former campus of the Santa Rosa extension of New College.  Peter is also the CEO of the Arlene Francis Foundation, which gave major support to the non-profit The Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art, and Politics.    The AFC website resource page links to a book Peter authored The Bank Teller and Other Essays on the Politics of Meaning , described as:

The Bank Teller explores the desire within each of us to overcome our isolation and to see and be seen by the other in a relation of authentic connectedness. Peter Gabel asserts that this desire for “mutual recognition” is the very foundation of our social being, and is as fundamental in the spiritual realm as the need for food and shelter is in the material realm. He shows how the fear of humiliation blocks our capacity to become fully present to each other and leads us to collectively reproduce an alienated and artificial society that isolates us from one another and from the capacity to fully experience the natural world. In a series of strikingly original essays, Gabel shows how “the opening up of desire” requires a fundamental challenge to our existing social institutions and a new political strategy that invents new forms of work, friendship, and community.


Elaine interviewed Peter Gabel, the first man ever on Women’s Spaces, in this show filmed on 2/22/13, and you can see him discuss why he opened the center in his mother’s honor.


Also listed on the resource page at the Arlene Francis Center website  was a link to an article on Martin Luther King’s vision of the Beloved Community.  There was this paragraph that grabbed my attention:


Behind King’s conception of the Beloved Community lay his assumption that human existence is social in nature. “The solidarity of the human family” is a phrase he frequently used to express this idea. “We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,” he said in one of his addresses. This was a way of affirming that reality is made up of structures that form an interrelated whole; in other words, that human beings are dependent upon each other. Whatever a person is or possesses he owes to others who have preceded him. As King wrote: “Whether we realize it or not, each of us lives eternally ‘in the red.’ ” Recognition of one’s indebtedness to past generations should inhibit the sense of self-sufficiency and promote awareness that personal growth cannot take place apart from meaningful relationships with other persons, that the “I” cannot attain fulfillment without the “Thou.”

King saw the participants in the civil rights movement as representing the Beloved Community in microcosm.


I think a deep level of realization welled up to cognition in me with that poem Someone.  Thus I write this follow-up post to comment on the ripple of meaning that is lapping on the shores of my soul.


Another link on the resource page of the AFC website was to an article on the Similarities of Thomas Merton with Martin Luther King.  Thomas, a Trappist monk, came to see:


In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. The whole illusion of a separate holy existence is a dream. Not that I question the reality of my vocation, or of my monastic life: but the conception of “separation from the world” that we have in the monastery too easily presents itself as a complete illusion …. [W]e are in the same world as everybody else, the world of the bomb, the world of race hatred, the world of technology, the world of mass media, big business, revolution, and all the rest …. This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud …. To think that for sixteen or seventeen years I have been taking seriously this pure illusion that is implicit in so much of our monastic thinking …. I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. (6)


And Martin transformed, too:

As spokesman for the boycott, King was overwhelmed with a load of back-breaking responsibilities and frightened by serious threats against his life and his family’s safety. Reaching the end of his endurance, King sat at his kitchen table one night over a cup of coffee, trying to figure out how to get out of the movement without appearing a coward.

And I discovered then that religion had to become real to me, and I had to know God for myself. And I bowed over that cup of coffee. I never will forget it …. I prayed a prayer, and I prayed out loud that night. I said, “Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right. I think the cause that we represent is right. But Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now. I’m faltering. I’m losing my courage. And I can’t let the people see me like this because if they see me weak and losing my courage they will begin to get weak. And it seemed at that moment that I could hear an inner voice saying to me, “Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And to I will be with you, even until the end of the world.” …I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No never alone. No never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. Almost at once my fears began to go. My uncertainty disappeared. (9)

King’s kitchen table experience and Merton’s Fourth and Walnut vision were breakthrough events in the lives of each man. King committed himself to the movement completely despite his growing realization more certain as the years went by — that it would cost him his life. Merton grasped with his heart a truth that he had only known with his head, the monk left the world for the sake of the world. These events confirmed each in the path he had already started.

Both paths converged on the issue of civil rights. Merton, as well as King, perceived civil rights as a moral and religious struggle, indeed as the religious cause of the day, a view disputed by many Christians who saw it as basically a political struggle with extremists on both sides. Merton and King had a profound sense that they and the nation were living through a kairos, a “time of urgent and providential election.”



My reading of the gospels brings home a sense of unity with the divine and creation and the conviction to fear not because of this true relationship and cosmology, one that includes divine guidance to resources to accomplish one’s divine mission.

The empire’s take for religion comes through as “fear” that you will lose eternal life by a superhuman and just shy of God’s omnipotence Satan, which the empire-sanctioned Church said was the “ruler of the world”.  Good thing that Jesus was against the empire of Rome occupying Palestine and much of the Mediterranean region (which the gospel writers meant when saying the “ruler of this world”) and all four gospel writers have Jesus throwing out the money-changers in the empire- sanctioned Temple/Church of the time.  The power of the empire is in the coinage to control the economy and taxation for supporting the Roman legions.

Today we have the USA Empire.  Same  ol, same ol.  Just different names for our time in which democracy became dollarcracy, replacing people (demo) with dollar as the measure for value.  Dollars require commoditization, breaking things into measures of weights and volumes, digitizing, dividing, separating.  Still Humpty Dumpty could not be put together again and a rich man has a difficult time getting through the Gate called the Eye of the Needle, and banks are too large to be judged like anyone else, even other corporate persons.


The good news is, I believe, that we can live in a Beloved Community  when we have reached those defining moments as Martin Luther King reached and Thomas Merton reached, to understand our living eternally “in the red”  and “the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate”.  It is a parallel universe in which a Beloved Community Member can see and hear, even when standing next to a person who is still bound by the empire dollar gauge and cannot see or hear the Beloved Community but only divided warring people of Haves with power over Have-nots that want what the Haves have.  The walking  in balance requires us to navigate society with these two possible perceptions operating, and to recognize members of the Beloved Community, both those who have realized they are the beloved and those who have not yet realized.  We recognize with intuition within (feeling my True Self vibrate the still small voice of conscience) and signs at-hand in the moment’s physical experience of society and the environment.


Martin and Thomas influenced the lives of my generation known as the Boomers.  So did the classical literature infused lyrics of the Sixties, encouraging a beloved community.  There were lights to lead us, if we asked, and some of us asked and searched, to receive and find, even in the midst of the subsequent reaction to the Sixties with the media promoting the complacent yuppiedom driven by consumerism.

I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together                                   – 
The Walrus by the Beatles.

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Someone, no, many  were killed for me to be here.
Someone, no, many suffered indignity and rejection for me to be here.
Someone, no, many, starved for me to be here.
Someone, no many, were taken from their parents for me to be here.
Someone, no, many, are still hurting for me to be here.
I can do much on my own
but not this, not what was done for me.
No words can make this up.
My hope is that life lived knowing how it was
may widen my circle to include someone, no, many.

Kenneth E. Norton  [P026]

Note: This welled up on the morning of my birthday 7/26/2013.  So much of the “rugged individualist” in me is realizing the illusion of its lone self.

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Bee on San Pedro flower

Bee on San Pedro flower

Bee on San Pedro flower