LOVE VS. THE G20

Here’s the second Evolve Love Story: LOVE VERSUS THE G-20. In the last week of June, 2010, the leaders of the G-20 nations gathered in Toronto, Canada, behind a 6 kilometre long security fence, to make decisions that would affect us all. In response, there was a week of activities counter to the gathering, including a People’s Summit, an indigenous march, a toxic tour of toronto, a queer “kiss-in”, prayer vigils, humour and more. Unfortunately, a small minority of protestors used the tactic of property damage to send their message, and the media focussed almost exclusively on that story. Behind the smoke screen of burning police cars and smashed windows, lies the stuff of a great love story, a story of people coming together in the name of peace, justice and compassion. The video features appearances by Maude Barlow, Kimia Ghomeshi, Judy Rebick, John Greyson, Mary Walsh, Jasmine Thomas and more.

Krishnamurti On Love and Meditation

Thanks Alan Muskat for bringing this lovely excerpt from the work of Krishnamurti to my attention…

“In the space which thought creates around itself, there is no love. This space divides man from man, and in it is all the becoming, the battle of life, the agony and fear. Meditation is the ending of this space, the ending of the me. Then relationship has quite a different meaning, for in that space which is not made by thought, the other does not exist, for you do not exist.

Meditation then is not the pursuit of some vision, however sanctified by tradition. Rather it is the endless space where thought cannot enter. To us, the little space made by thought around itself, which is the me, is extremely important, for this is all the mind knows, identifying itself with everything that is in that space. 

And the fear of not being is born in that space. But in meditation, when this is understood, the mind can enter into a dimension of space where action is inaction. We do not know what love is, for in the space made by thought around itself as the me, love is the conflict of the me and the not-me. This conflict, this torture, is not love.

Thought is the very denial of love, and it cannot enter into that space where the me is not. In that space is the benediction which man seeks and cannot find. He seeks it within the frontiers of thought, and thought destroys the ecstasy of this benediction…

If you set out to meditate, it will not be meditation. If you set out to be good, goodness will never flower. If you cultivate humility, it ceases to be. Meditation is the breeze that comes in when you leave the window open; but if you deliberately keep it open, deliberately invite it to come, it will never appear…

It had rained heavily during the night and the day, and down the gullies the muddy stream poured into the sea, churning it chocolate-brown. As you walked on the beach the waves broke with magnificent force. You walked against the wind, and suddenly there was nothing between you and the sky, and this openness was heaven. And that evening, walking there on that wet sand, with the seagulls around you, you felt the open freedom and the beauty of love that was not in you or outside you but everywhere. You felt this suddenly, like a great wind that swept through you and over the land. There you were denuded of everything, empty and utterly open. The beauty of it was not in the word or in the feeling, but everywhere about you, inside you, over the waters and in the hills…

After the rains the hills were splendid. Still brown from the summer sun, and now all the green things would return. It had rained all night and the beauty was indescribable. The sky was still cloudy and in the air was the smell of sumac, sage and eucalyptus. It was splendid to be among them, and a strange stillness possessed you. Unlike the sea far below, the hills were completely still, and your mind too was washed empty. All through the night it pursued you, love’s stillness, and when you woke, long before the sun, it was still there in your heart, with its incredible joy, for no reason whatsoever. It was there, causeless, and it would be there, all through the day, without your ever asking or inviting it to stay.”

Krishnamurti, Meditations 1969

NEW YEARS EVOLUTION

Happy New Years!

I love this transition time – it’s a great time to shed old snake skins, and move into new possibilities. A great time to renew commitments and abandon the ones that no longer fit. A great time for looking back, with gratitude, on the past year. My dear friend Carly Stasko loves to ask herself: what are the three things I am grateful for today? She does this at meal times, but on New Years, she looks back over the year and asks – what are the three big things I’m grateful for this year? We shared this practice at a dinner party together this week, and it was very moving.

Don’t tell Carly, but after she left we did a round of complaints – just one each. That was kind of satisfying in a different way, but left me feeling like I had eaten too much MSG or greasy foods or something. :)

May your coming year be blessed, blissed, and rampant with possibilities, transformation, and joy. And may you have the wisdom to catch those curveballs the universe throws us on occasion, hold them as long as need be, then throw them right back, with glee.

It’s also that time of year when we’re supposed to be making a bunch of New Years resolutions that we’re never going to keep and that are just going to make us feel bad about ourselves for the next year. 
 
Well my first New Years Evolution is to stop feeling bad about myself for any of my shortcomings – just let that go.   But first I have to do a very un-male thing and accept that I actually have a shortcoming or two.  Let me have a peek….yikes!  I do.  I gots some. Damn.  So much for that mask of rigid perfection I thought I had to wear.  

Hey – its actually kind of relaxing to drop that.  Let’s you breathe a little easier.  So- I herby accept my weak spots, I hereby see my blind spots, I hereby love my broken bits.  I  accept them, love them, and love myself.   It’s okay ego – you aren’t perfect.  You got spots.  You got dots.  You got some work to do.

So my next New Years Evolution is to shine a light into my shadows, light a torch into my unconscious,  and see all of me, the dark and the light, the good, the bad and the ugly, and allow myself the room to grow.   I hereby renew my fierce commitment to evolution.   Spiritual evolution.   

 I renew my commitment to moving from a place of Love – and letting that Love come from the deepest well of my being, from a place of absolute freedom – freedom for myself, and freedom for everyone who comes into my path.  

I want to give from my heart, and receive with my heart.

I want to continually ignite in myself a lived understanding of the true masculine, the loving masculine, the giving masculine, the healing masculine, the empowering, powerful, free, connected and spacious masculine. Free me from Glen Beck, George Bush and Osama Bin Laden as male role models.

I want to become aware of my power – stepping into my true power that never needs another’s power, or needs to power over another.

I ask to be free from the hypnotizing lies of domination and destruction, of fear and manipulation,  so we can reclaim our souls, our selves, our lives and our planet and walk again in creativity and wonder, in collaboration and delight, in hope and inspiration,  thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, for this incredible world.

 
This Space Free.
 
 I commit to inspiring and awakening the highest truth in myself and those that care to join in, to being a solar powered bio fueled love bug bringing light and wonder to this world of turmoil and transformation.  

I commit to stop using the phrase “in this world of turmoil and transformation” all the time.

I commit to clearing, and re-clearing, to creating true spaciousness so I can to allow the divine in, moment by moment, day by day, year by year. I commit to serving with all my power, from a place of loving power, helping to be a source of radiance in this world of turmoil and… (damn! I almost broke that one already.)

I commit to loosening up, to laughing a lot more, to not making so many commitments all the time, especially on New Years, when it’s such an obvious thing to do, instead to cover it all in one foul swoop and say:  I commit to coming from the deepest place of authenticity I possibly can, at all times, and when I forget and my ego takes over, to bouncing back as soon as I notice, or until someone I love tells me to wake the f~ck up.  I commit to saying, “thank you” when they do, unless it gets over the top and too damn much in which case, in the interests of self love, I commit to walking away, with my heart full of love, from any situation, relationship or scenario which is just not good for me.

I commit to opening my heart wide, to being truly spacious, to letting go, to not holding on, to not taking, to not grasping, to not clinging, to allowing what is to be, and what isn’t to not be, to allowing what wants to be to manifest without trying to outthink, double think, or triple think the divine, to getting out of my own way so the universe can do it’s part, to doing my part, to loving the process, to seeing it all as a process, to not obsessing on the goal, to lighting my bonfire and burning down the house, till there’s nothing left but love and ashes, and building it all up, over and over again, each beautiful castle nothing more than a glittering wedding cake to the divine, offered with love to the whole party, no guest list needed, with fearless surrender and profound willfulness, secure in the knowledge that all is good, all is good, all is good.   

I swear I’m not just making idle promises here, but really laying it on the line – the time has come to let loose the full potential that I was gifted with here on this earth, to really live it, to dare to stare into the sun with my eyes glowing fierce and uninhibited and reverently irreverent, fearless and truthful, joyous and mournful, tasting the agonizing ecstasy that is life on earth with every pore of my body, mind and spirit sizzling, sizzling, sizzling.   Let nothing stop me, not even the cynics and the killjoys who would piss on my parade, not the gatekeepers who have locked their own  gates, not the gates I myself have locked, let me blow up them all to smithereens with divine inspiration, smash down the old altars, tear down the walls, gleefully, lovingly, unstoppable.  Sizzling, sizzling, sizzling.

~Velcrow Ripper, New Years 2010

(Updated – first released in 2009)

ON THE ROAD WITH FIERCE LIGHT

Well it’s been an exciting year of travelling around the world, helping Fierce Light shine. The responses have been so tremendous, and moving. Every audience is different, but again and again people are deeply transformed by the film. Last weekend I was in Charleston, at the Sophia Institute. On Friday night the packed screening at the American Theater offered up a standing ovation. The next day, the SHINE YOUR FIERCE LIGHT workshop was charged with energy and compassion. The insitute has been host to many of the great spiritual wisdom keepers of this age, and it was an honour to form a fierce light circle there.

Sunday, I took the plane to Atlanta where a wonderful group called “Evolver” hosted my workshop in an intentional community. Appropriately, the space we were in was called “Soul Shine.” Again I was moved by the depth and openess of the participants, and the feeling that there truly is a zeitgeist of compassionate action spreading around the globe, that people are ready for this synthesis of spirituality and action. The time has come!

As I write this I’m in New York City, where the Village Zendo is hosting a Fierce Light screening on Saturday night, Oct 10 at 7pm. Then, on Sunday, Evolver NYC is hosting a SHINE YOUR FIERCE LIGHT workshop, from 1-5 pm.

Please join us or spread the word if you can!

Check out the facebook group for more info.

Revolution of the Spirit

I’m excited to show you this new video I’ve just completed, featuring Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and Alan Clements, the first American ordained as a Buddhist monk in Burma. It’s also one of the DVD extras on the new Fierce Light DVD, launching in Canada this Monday, August 24, with screenings in Toronto and Vancouver. http://www.fiercelight.org/events

Some Fierce Words from Matthew Fox

A few words from the Fierce Light interview with Matthew Fox, conducted by Velcrow Ripper. While Matthew is not in the body of the Fierce Light film, he will appear in the bonus disc:

“We’ve raised gluttony to a whole new level with consumerism and greed is a quest for the infinite in the wrong place – the human soul yearns for the infinite and in terms of stuffing ourselves or our closets or what have you with goodies, it doesn’t work. Pretty soon you have to buy a new house with bigger closets – I saw a statistic recently about how many Americans have storage spaces for their stuff –so they not only have houses with their closets for their stuff they also have these storage spaces – stuff on top of stuff on top of stuff.

So simplicity has something to do with saying no to the addiction of consumerism. That has tremendous implications. The American economic system as I understand it, 80 percent of it runs on consumerism, so that means that if we could cut back drastically on the consumer addiction, and that’s what it is, gluttony, it’s the gluttony of consumerism, we could release our economic system so it could serve more important services than just for filling our closets and stuffing our bodies. Which purposes of course a world that works for everybody and economics that works for everybody. And if we had an economics that works for everybody, we wouldn’t have wars. At least we’d have far fewer wars – we wouldn’t have envy, and we wouldn’t have a lot of things that are still running the human enterprise.

Greed is real – it’s a spiritual addiction and the fact is, it’s becoming reincarnated and blessed by the raining economic ideology and we do have to stand up to that. Part of the struggle is one’s own lifestyle, what one can do to live more simply and um, and part of it is thinking differently, like Franklin D. said, don’t change the world, change worlds. By that I think he said, change the way you see the world, the perspective on the world. As we learn to think more interdependently and realize that um, Americans who comprise 4 percent of the worlds population are using about 25-30 percent of the worlds energy, where’s the balance there and how long can that persist, go on.

We can live more simply, but it takes a combination of community willpower and it’s about values getting into the community. And when we see the impact of a greed based economic system and a gluttony based system, and we see that impact on ourselves and our own health and on the earth and so forth. That aughta be enough to move us in another direction.”

What’s God Have to Do With It?

I recently gave a talk at the Ryerson United Church, a place renouned for it’s progressive congregation. Although I am not a Christian, I dig Jesus Christ – He was most definitely a Fierce Love revolutionary. However, I am deeply saddened by the atrocities that have been committed in His name. Even yesterday, a doctor was murdered by a fundamentalist Christian. Can you imagine JC killing someone who disagreed with him? I don’t think so.

But a tremendous amount of good has also been done in the name of the Prince of Peace, and I’ll take goodness wherever I can find it. We need people of all walks of life, of all faiths, and non-faiths, to come together now, and work towards a future of harmony and sustainability. The time for division, for us and them – ing, has come to an end. It’s time for unity. Which does not mean sameness! Unity is strengthened by diversity.

I actually quite enjoyed talking to a congregation of spiritually focused, socially conscious people, even if most of the rituals didn’t have a resonance for me. Because I felt an authentic celebration of community, an authentic celebration of Love, and an authentic love of God.

I don’t use the G word that often, because it has been so abused and confused and misused in todays society. Some would prefer to just skip it altogether. When I do use it, I tend to write “G~d,” because that leaves some of the mystery intact.

G~d is not an old man with a white beard sitting on a cloud. G~d is not mean, judgmental or short tempered. G~d is not a human being, with all our limitations and emotions.

But G~d is something I sense, I feel, I Know, and I value. G~d offers me a sense of higher meaning – G~d for me is the totalility of all that is, was and ever will be, the “I Am” that shines behind the small me, the vast Field that connects everything, and the sum total of those connections. The source of it all.

I communicate with G~d all the time, and in fact, when I’m running a little ragged, when I’m pushing myself a little too hard, all I need to do to recharge deeply is to pause for a breath or two, center myself, and invite the divine in. Reconnect with my highest calling, my highest motivation, the source.

My understanding is rooted in a direct connection, a direct Knowing, or “gnosis.” It is not something I have read about or heard about, or speculate about. It is intrinsic to who I am, a constant wellspring of Love that brings meaning, celebration, and endless reservoirs of positive energy to my life. For me, G~d is the life force herself, G~d is Love herself.

At the end of our discussion, the minister at the United Church asked me if there was anything I wanted to add, and I thought for a moment, and said, “I’d just like to say the word God out loud, because so often, in my public life, I don’t use that word, because I don’t want to be misunderstood. So let me just say it now, three times: God, God, God. Yay!!!”

It felt good to say God. It’s a word that has to be reclaimed from all who misuse it, from the George Bush’s and the Jimmy Swaggerts, from the Jihadists and the fundamentalists of every creed.

But a relationship with G~d is not for everyone, and is not a necessary part of spirituality. You can get by fine without it – there are other ways to find meaning. The debate over the “existence of G~d” can become a smokescreen and an energy sucking diversion, and for that reason, I don’t engage in the debate. It’s enough just to Love- yourself, each other, and this planet. If we could just start from there, everything else will fall into place.

Defiantly Hopeful

merry-crisis

In the face of a world in crisis, I dare to care. In the face of materialism, consumerism, and me me me – ism, I recognize that I am because you are, that without you and you and you – plant animal mineral macro micro organism human- I would not exist. That we are all part of a brilliant multi hued tapestry, that we all add to the warp and weave and woof, that we all have a fierce light.

In the face of irony, cynicism, jadedness and despair, I choose hope. In the face of narrow empiricism, the confining corridors of quantification, of dogma of any stripe-rational, political, spiritual or religious, I choose to light a match to the fuse of possibility, and blow up all boxes, sending the church of reason, the church of ideology, the church of churchiness, into the air, with a deep and satisfying boooooom, so that emptied of their arrogance, these churches might offer us freedom, not more walls, love, not more hate, understanding, not more separation.

In the face of hatred, anger and fear, I choose love, compassion, and celebration. If I can’t party in your revolution, don’t put me on the guest list.

In the face of my own vulnerabilities and limitations, I choose to go easy on myself. I am not perfect, I am human, and that is a wonderful thing. My stumblings and fumblings make me real. I am simply doing my best.

In the face of my ego, which is always feeling either smalled or bigged, I smile gently and give it a little pat on the head, a kick in the butt, a nudge in the ribs and say,”hey we’re doing fine, we’re doing just fine. Get up off the ground, get down off of your pedestal and stand in the place of the real, neither inflated, nor deflated, just be yourself. That’s good enough.”

In the face of a sunny day, I cry out,”thank you! Thank you for this amazing world, thank you for 14 billion years of hard joyous miraculous work to get us to the point where we can really appreciate this magnificence. I’m going to stop pissing in my own pool and start truly loving this incredulous place, from the bottom of my toes to the tip of my tongue, gonna celebrate this one precious life, this next precious breath, this precious precious moment. To hell with the nay sayers and doomsdayers, the cynics and the pisspots, I will blow up the gates of the gatekeepers and storm the citadels of the power brokers with pure, unadulterated Love. Nothing-not anything- will stand in my way, not even myself. It’s the least I can do to say, thank you, thank you, thank you for the wondrous wonder of creative creation. And in case no one has told you this today, Universe: you rock!”

THE FIERCE LIGHT TRAILER

Please share this far and wide – click on the video, go to youtube and choose “share”. Help spread the Fierce Light.

IN THE THEATRES ACROSS CANADA STARTING MAY 15TH!!

FIERCE LIGHT: WHEN SPIRIT MEETS ACTION

From the Director of Scared Sacred & The Producer of The Corporation

A Feature Documentary award winning filmmaker Velcrow Ripper

“A SPIRITUAL KALEIDOSCOPE OF HOPE AND JOY. UPLIFTING!” ~ Green Muze Magazine

“HUGELY ENGAGING AND VISUALLY DELIGHTFUL.” ~ Toronto Sun

“A POETIC CALL TO HEARTFELT ACTION.” ~ Common Ground

IN THEATRES ACROSS CANADA MAY 15!!!

Please spread this trailer, along with this note, far and wide, and help us fill the theatres May 15!!!

At the Cumberland in Toronto, The AMC Forum in Montreal and Fifth Avenue Cinema’s in Vancouver, Canada.

FOR MORE INFO GO TO:

http://www.fiercelight.org

“ACHINGLY BEAUTIFUL.” ~ NewCityFIlm, Chicago

“INTENSE AND INSPIRING.” ~ Examiner National

“RAW, HONEST AND COMPELLING.” ~ CJSF Radio

“Fierce Light” is a feature documentary that captures the exciting movement of Spiritual Activism that is exploding around the planet, and the powerful personalities that are igniting it.

Acclaimed filmmaker Velcrow Ripper (Scared Sacred) takes an insightful look at change motivated by love, featuring interviews with spiritual activists Thich Nhat Hanh, Desmond Tutu, Daryl Hannah, Julia Butterfly Hill, and more.

“COURAGEOUS …. POTENT … AUTHENTIC.” ~ Enlightennext Magazine

“INCREDIBLY MOVING! A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE IN ITSELF!” ~Vancouver International Film Festival

“A TOUCHING PORTRAIT OF THE POWER OF
RIGHTEOUSNESS AND LOVE…” -New Orleans Times-Picayune
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Spirit In Action

“The whole human species is on trial now. These next few decades will determine whether or not our species is a locust species or a bumblebee species. We’ll either scour this planet to the bones and destroy our own civilization and most other species, or we will find a way to bring ourselves back into harmony with our mother, with the earth.” – Van Jones

postcard_front

We live in a time when things are getting better and better and worse and worse faster and faster. There are two graphs, building steam and momentum – the upward graph of the forces of life, and the downward graph, representing the forces of death and extinction. These are the two dominant trends that humanity, and our innocent blue planet, are facing: what visionary Matthew Fox calls the forces of biophilia, and the forces of necrophilia. This time of raging wars, financial collapse, environmental devastation and fear mongering is also a time of tremendous possibility, when we all have the opportunity to step into our true selves and become part of the tidal wave of change that is sweeping the globe.

For the last few years I have been traveling the planet, shooting a feature documentary called “Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action.” The film is now complete, and is starting to come out into the world right now! It’s about the rising power of “spiritual activism”, contemporary stories of what Gandhi called “Soul Force,” what Martin Luther King called “Love In Action,” what we’re calling “Fierce light.” It is the power of action, combined with the depth of Love. I have been seeking out those visionaries and every day heroes who are working to transform themselves and this world of crisis, and I have discovered enormous cause for hope.

Spiritual Activism is not about religion, it is not about any form of dogma, it is activism that comes from the heart, not just the head, activism that is compassionate, positive, kind, fierce and transformative. And fun! Being spiritual, and being an activist, can be a lot of fun – in fact, it should be a lot of fun. Being a spiritual activist means taking our part in creating change, with a spirit of positivity, and a balance of interdependence and self determination. Nothing could be more inspiring and more rewarding than being the change we want to see in the world, within and without.

For me, true spirituality is a fresh, living truth. Ideology is frozen spirituality, whereas I see spirituality as the evolutionary impulse itself– it is evolving and adapting along with the ever changing context of our lives. It is still rooted in timeless truths, but truth as inner knowing, not external imposition. Spirituality also involves that which is beyond the immediate senses – the unseen. This includes emotions, feelings, energy, and the openness to possibilities beyond the material.

Spirituality involves taking a ‘depth’ perspective, being willing to look under the surface, and beyond the narrow confines of the strictly rational mind, to a consideration of as many dimensions as possible. An integrated approach, which includes your own perspective, the perspective of the other person, the community, the planet, and the universal, divine perspective – weave all that together, and you have a spiritual perspective, a perspective that recognizes the interconnectedness of all that is. This is a naturally heart expanding perspective, which is why we can say that G~d is love – when we see ourselves as part of everything, the natural response is one of love.

Leela Kumar, the Dalit human rights activist featured in Fierce Light, defines spirituality as community – recognizing that we are all part of a greater whole, a vast and interconnected system of interconnecting systems. There is a sense of awe that settles into your being when you consider this truth deeply. And out of this, emerges a sense of divine play – a joyous celebration of the miracle of creation.

I believe we are seeing a true Zeitgeist emerging, a new form of change making that begins in the human heart, and radiates outwards. I’ve seen it from New Zealand to Vietnam, from Africa to Washington, from Mexico to Sri Lanka to South Central Los Angeles. I saw it in the tremendous surge of grass roots support that brought Barack Obama into the Whitehouse, a “yes we can” spirit that captured that imagination of a nation tired of inauthenticity and spin. Tired of a politics of hate and division. The whole world celebrated Obama’s victory. The whole world is hungry for change.

Everywhere I travel, I have found people rising up with a series of shared values. Paul Hawkens, author of Blessed Unrest, calls it the largest undocumented mass movement in history – humanity’s immune response to a planet in crisis. He has set out to do the research, and has discovered that millions of individuals and organizations are answering the call to compassionate action, a call that is needed to transform planetary suicide into a time of rebirth and regeneration. It is what Alice Walker calls “The Human Sunrise,” the incredible power of human beings stepping into their authentic selves and stepping up to take responsibility for the change they want to see in the world.

What’s so wonderful about this movement is that it doesn’t have to require anything dramatic. Small changes are just as important. When billions of people make small changes, this results in enormous change. We don’t have to join anything to be part of this wave of transformation, we don’t have to sign up, pay dues, or get a funny name. We can if we so desire – there are many organizations that reflect these shared values – but if you’re not the joining type, if you’re someone like me, you still have an important part to play. This exciting transformation begins in our own hearts, when we dare to care. Each and every person has a role to play in this profound shift in consciousness, a shift from the small ‘me’ to the great ‘we.’ This is the evolution of activism, and the evolution of spirituality – a revolution of the heart.

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