What is Democracy?

I was asked that question today in an interesting conversation about vaccinations, gun laws, tobacco usage, and morality. That’s the backdrop. Thinking about that question, I decided I wanted to add an adjective, so the question becomes, “What is a functional democracy?”

My rough answer to is that a functional democracy is one in which all the people are participating in the democratic process (voting, free speech, non-violent demonstration, law passing, etc) out of a deep morality and sense of ethics which guides their interest and thinking about the issues.

The implication here is that everyone is engaged in a deepening of their morality / ethics in order to bring as much clear thinking as possible to the issues.  When we all are engaged in this deepening, we can also more clearly communicate with each other, and even if we disagree with each other (because we all have different life experiences), we should be able to respect every standpoint, every perspective, because we know it has come out of a deep moral thinking of the issue.

That, to me, is a functional democracy.

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Compassion

Create space without judgement, without pushing away, isn’t that part of what love is, love for another?  But there’s also love for oneself–being compassionate with oneself.  The delusion is that I can love you without clearly loving myself.  The basis, the roots of the foundation of compassionate communication lies in my ability to be compassionate with myself.  Without that, I cannot be approach you from a place of true compassion.  Because in a relationship, I will need to make a request at some point that is out of my needs and is an expression of my love for myself.

So what we do is create space and places in which we allow the other to move with complete freedom while at the same time keeping open our own space.  It’s the intersection of those spaces where our souls touch.  Healing can happen in all of those places.  Meaning, if we both have a sense of self-compassion, we create a space in ourselves in which our own healing can occur.  If I also create a compassionate space for you in which you can move freely (meaning, free will) then an opportunity for healing is created, but only if you are willing. Similarly, if you create a place for me, then I have a space in which I can heal myself.

As an archetype, most men don’t understand that the chains that bind and fetter are not broken by the sword.

As an archetype, most people, men and women alike, aren’t compassionate enough with themselves to truly love each other.

We search for love for that very reason, because we DO want that compassion.  Even worse, we search out people we can love, so that in their returning of our love, our need for compassion is met. But it isn’t really, because at some inevitable point of confusion, we are not met with compassion, and then where are we, if we don’t have a deep sense of self-compassion in us?  And worst of all, it’s very easy to delude ourselves that we are being compassionate with ourself.  Clarity is so very essential here, but absolute clarity isn’t a requirement to do this work, only an knowing that clarity is something to always keep in mind.

Self-compassion is the sword to free ourselves to truly love.  It means saying “no” with the strength and love for our self.  It means saying “yes” without the loss of individuality and freedom, meeting in intersections of the space we create.

When you say “no”, I am confronted with the understanding that you love yourself, and therefore, as long as I come from a space of healthy being (compassion), I discover my love for you.  When you say “yes”, I am confronted with the understanding that you love me, from which I deepen my love for myself.

The 8 Beatitudes

When I read the 8 Beatitudes, I’m struck by the consciousness of “feeling” and the implication of compassion for oneself and for the other.  So, in all humbleness, my thoughts…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit” – this is a humble recognition of how we can no longer see with clarity the angelic world, and we struggle inwardly with ourselves, to be humble and compassionate with ourselves and our shortcomings, and in this first step of recognition, we gain “the kingdom of heaven.”

“Blessed are they who mourn”—we grieve, not only for the tragedies around us, but for ourselves as well.  We allow ourselves to feel grief, to mourn, and in living deeply into that grief, we find compassion—we become compassionate towards ourselves and towards others, and thus “they shall be comforted” in that compassion.

“Blessed are the meek”—while “blessed are the poor in spirit” is an inner humbleness, “blessed are the meek” is an outward humbleness, that we are weak and the trials of our physical existence are daunting, and that we often feel overwhelmed, “meek”, towards the tasks and trials of life.  When we this “outer humbleness”, when we truly acknowledge our limitations, our “meekness”, then we are in a position to “inherit the earth”, as an inheritance to be cared for compassionately and respectfully.

“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness” – imagine how as children we have all experienced being wronged, and how this repeated experience jades us to taking up the banner of righteousness, instead we silently give up.  Imagine how we have to search deeply into ourselves, into our feeling life, to discover that hunger and thirst for righteousness, and then to engage the will and act upon this feeling.  And in that activity “they shall be satisfied”.  This is not a satisfaction that is given to us in revenge or justice, but it is an inner satisfaction of the wisdom gained in deeply feeling truth from lies, right from wrong, good from evil.

“Blessed are the merciful”—an act of compassion, to be merciful both to ourselves in our struggles and in others and their struggles, from which we “shall obtain mercy.”  Again implying, when we act with mercy toward others, we are acting with mercy on ourselves as well.  We are letting go of our own anger, fear, pain, and in being merciful, in forgiving, we let go of our own pain, and what act of mercy that is!  And with that letting go, that openness, with that act of forgiveness, we become unblocked and return to a place of humble being, a place where we can truly mourn, where we can recognize our own weaknesses, and where we can hunger and thirst, rather than silently give up, for righteousness.

“Blessed are the pure of heart”—in our humble recognition of our poor spirit, in the compassion we have for ourselves and for others as we mourn, as we recognize our limitations in the outer world, as we struggle to discern what is true and good, as we do all this we are transforming ourselves constantly into ever more “pure of heart”, and then we “shall see God”, in us, around us, in the other.

“Blessed are the peacemakers”—How can strife exist when we become pure at heart?  How can we not see each of us as “children of God” when we see God in ourselves and in each of us?

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness”—but the reality is, there will always be people who persecute those of pure heart and peacemaking, and it is the consciousness of this, that we will be persecuted “as the prophets before”, that those conscious people gain “the kingdom of heaven”, holding fast to their principles.

So in the end, the 8 Beatitudes are a journey, a journey that is incorporated in many (if not all) of the modern ideas, such as Marshall B. Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, etc.

Programming is an act of faith that inspiration will, indeed, must occur

So, I’m writing this lovely little web service, and I have a method called “LoadView”, which (ok, don’t give me a hard time) returns a DataTable of a view. Works fantastic. OK, I had to tweak the “maxReceivedMessageSize” because like, duh, I want more than 64K of data, but no biggy because the exception was oh so kind to tell me that I ought to do that.

Same with a call to GetSchema, which simply returns an XML string of the DB schema. Got a nice exception that told me I had to increase maxStringContentLength in the readerQuotas because, duh, I have XML elements that are greater than 8K of content. Doesn’t everybody?

So, these two calls are working great, and I’m off to the last method I want to implement, “ExecuteQuery”. Yeah, on the server side it verifies that the SQL statement begins with “select” or “with”, and there’s parameterization checks so I have some effort to prevent SQL injection attacks, but I’m not really concerned because this is for an Intranet solution, so I can pretty much rely on the fact that the people are who connecting to the web service are in fact, moral, ethical, upstanding denizens of the aerospace industry.

But I digress.

So, I get this lovely exception (recreated just for you, dear reader, after having fixed the problem):

An error occurred while receiving the HTTP response to http://%5Bsnip%5D. This could be due to the service endpoint binding not using the HTTP protocol. This could also be due to an HTTP request context being aborted by the server (possibly due to the service shutting down). See server logs for more details.”}

WTF? I’m returning a DataTable, just like I am in the LoadView call, which works perfectly. I have absolutely no freaking clue as to what is going on. I notice that my interfaces have the ExecuteQuery and GetSchema methods swapped in the client and the server. Nope, that’s not it. I try returning a simple empty data table. You know, like “return new DataTable();” and I still get the same error! How can that be???

So, suddenly an angel thwaks me on the side of the head. “Hey you depraved lowly human being with your limited life span, you want to spend the next 8 hours of your short little puny life figuring this out, or do you want some divine inspiration? Don’t answer that, that was a rhetorical question. OK, remember that time a few years ago when you tried serializing a DataTable and the serializer crapped out on you because you didn’t give the DataTable a name? HINT!!!”

table.TableName="QueryResult";

And there was much rejoicing, and angels partied down.

Within and Without

Tell me who you really are,
And I will listen without judgement,
See me for who I really am,
And hold me within a safe place.

Why do I recognize you yet I do not know you?
Why do I love you without any past
To draw familiarity and comfort from,
Yet your soul touches within me the recognition…

Of having found that which I do not recall losing–
I had forgotten that without this love
The connections were missing an anchor
that grounds me from within in the trust now found…

I saw you, and in that seeing, you recognized me–connected souls,
without whom the waters of the lemniscate would not flow within.

To Touch

Flickering threads of red brightening and dimming in whisps of cool air,
Warm to the touch, astir with the possibility of flame and quickening flare,
To touch the kindling, patiently awaiting the spark to alight
the splintered grain, grasping at shards of heat and springing into yellowing light.

Leaping across the frosty air trembling below the sky cracking blue,
Pierced by the touch of your gaze, shivering for the warmth that can but renew,
To touch each other in the spaces forgotten by time’s sadness and loss,
The places darkened are now quietly lighting as warmth moves slowly across:

Caressing fingers upon cheek and brow reaching deeper into your heart’s deep care,
Soft in the touch are your hands moving between meridians in need of repair,
To touch the trembling surfaces and reach deeper into the etheric realm intangible,
The soul and the body entwine, enmeshed in weaving light becoming intimately inseperable,

To touch the embers of our spirits and kindle the hearth into warming light,
To warm the rooms of our souls and dance as cheering flames in awakening delight.