Shamans, prophecy, insights and that oh-so-icky militarism.

imagesHas anyone ever had the experience of reading a book that’s just so mind-blowing that once you’ve gotten to the last page, you immediately flip to the beginning and begin reading it again? I had never done this before until yesterday, on my transpacific flight from Tokyo to San Francisco, with this gem: 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl by Daniel Pinchbeck.  DAMN, can this guy can write!! He took an incredibly massive amount of material (both literary and based on personal experience) relating to the various prophecies that foresee some kind of monumental shift in consciousness peaking in December 2012…and he did it both beautifully and convincingly. I feel like this is about six books in one, and have begun reading it again in order to break down and digest each idea slowly and deeply.

This is not light fare…toward the end of the book, we learn that Pinchbeck, while under the influence of the phsycadelic conconction ayahuasca in the Brazilian rainforest,  believes that he is channeling the ancient spirit of the Toltec (pre-Aztec) deity Quetzalcoatl in order to bring a vital message to humanity that we need to clean up our act…or else. For those with open minds and a hunger to know more about where we need to be headed spiritually as human beings, this book will resonate on many, many levels. Read it, people!! Pinchbeck also wrote another book called Breaking Open the Head: A Psychadelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism that also looks amazing and is presently on my bookshelf waiting to be read…and he is the editor of a very cutting-edge blog called Reality Sandwich.I just ordered a copy of the first RS anthology called Toward 2012: Perspectives on the Next Age that looks fabulous as well…lots of yummy reading ahead!

Whilst turning around all of these mind-expanding possibilities around in my head, however, it was unfortunate that I felt completely ensconsed in an atmosphere of total pro-militarism for practically the entire duration of the flight. Why, for the love of goddess, is it that for practically every flight I have taken to the U.S. in recent memory, I am surrounded by soldiers? Is United Airlines the official airline of the U.S. military or something? And why am I always seated right in their midst? Of course, as distinguishing between ideologies/systems and individuals is an extremely sensitive topic with me, I am not holding anything against soldiers personally as human beings (and I have actually had some rather nice, interesting conversations with some of them). But it is the whole atmosphere surrounding militarism…the whole rendering of it as the normal way of being and living…that I found oppressive and frankly quite frightening. For example, the conversation I had with the guy next to me went something like this:

Military guy (MG): I’m goin’ to live with my family in Arizona.

Me: Oh really? I’m originally from Arizona.

MG: Oh. What were you doing in Tokyo?

Me: I live there.

MG: What? You just said you’re from Arizona. If you’re from Arizona, you can’t *live* in Tokyo. Like, I was in Okinawa for 2 years in the military, but I would never say that I *live* there. There is no way that you *live* in Tokyo. You *live* in Arizona!

Me (who has lived in Tokyo for the past 8 years): Speechless.

Granted, this guy was clearly not the brightest light on the tree, but still…after 2 years living overseas, he could not get the concept that I actually *did not live in the United States*?! To me, that was indicative of the whole system–the ignorant privileging of the U.S. as the obvious, unquestioned center of the world. And especially since I have seen with my own eyes the damage that the imperialist U.S. military has inflicted upon innocent people around the world, the upholding of the military as some of kind of amazing institution to be revered truly saddens me. Evidence of this was all over: military people were exempted from the “no cart in line” rule at ticket counters, have special lounges at the airport, and received free alcohol on the flight, for example. Yes, I realize that they have had a shitty time of it in Iraq and Afghanistan (where MG was stationed for part of his duty) and elsewhere, and since again, I blame the *system* and not the individuals who are just as exploited by it,  I can see how extra perks would seem to be legitimate from this perspective. However, it frustrates and demoralizes me to see the system glorified in so doing.

When I was trying to get my luggage down from the overhead bins, there were a couple of other military-looking guys who were blocking my way, and so I asked them whether they would move a bit so that I could get to my things. I asked them politely, twice, but they just looked askance at me and completely ignored me. I literally had to shove them aside in order to reach the bins…it was truly an uncomfortable moment. I had been one of the last people to board the flight as I had a couple of phone calls to make at the gate…maybe they were doing the equivalent of hazing in order to punish me for my transgression? Have no idea, but in any case, I felt like they were enjoying my discomfort while making no move to be helpful or kind, and I felt a vague sense of sadness and hopelessness for a long time after leaving the flight.

In order to cheer myself up and remind myself of some of positive energy I felt after reading 2012, which offers spirituality as an alternative to the soul-destroying tendencies at the heart of the militarist ideology, I am going to end this (long and overly rambling?) post with the following gem that a friend of mine, Dance for Peace founder and fellow spiritual seeker Gerry Ong, posted recently. It’s titled the Mayan Insight:

To Be Ready for this Moment in History

Many Mayan elders and knowledge keepers may be eliminated in the next few years. For the first half of the current Katun (20-year period) the dark side has a lot of power. But that will pass 3 to 4 years from now. The tide can turn. Amazing things are going to happen.

This is a crucially important moment for humanity, and for earth. Each person is important. If you have incarnated into this era, you have spiritual work to do balancing the planet.

The elders have opened the doors so that other races can come to the Mayan world to receive the tradition. The Maya have long appreciated and respected that there are other colors, other races, and other spiritual systems. “They know,” he said, “that the destiny of the Mayan world is related to the destiny of the whole world.”

“The greatest wisdom is in simplicity”. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness. It’s not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. It’s encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way.”

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