We find these items in the news.
If you have read this blog for any amount of time you have seen discussions about our troops being poorly supplied with essential tools for survival, such as body armor
One suggestion was that people donate money to purchase the body armor that BushCo cannot be bothered to supply to our troops. (Interestingly, more Democrats than Republicans have donated, more liberals than conservatives have donated, more people who are anti-war than pro-war, or so I am told)
But all that subversive activity is over. The powers that be have decreed that our troops are not allowed to use privately purchased body armor. I guess military reasoning is that no body armor is better than body armor that might prove inadequate to the task.
We also see the rise of corporate mercenaries here in the US, thanks to companies like Blackwater. This is of course a very scary thing, as mercenaries under corporate control have caused nothing but problems in the past. (It was corporate mercs, provided by Pinkerton that fought the battles for major US companies during the unionization of the American workforce)
Of course corporate profits are at a 40 year high (so much for the Reagan "trickle down effect) so the corporate world can afford to add private armies to its business tactics.
We also find out that Kansas schools have found a way to make sure that students study their Creationism, the Taser.
Of course no one gives a damn in Washington that East Africa is suffering under a terrible drought, There's no oil there so why bother. Better that this part of the world remain hostile to the US and continue to provide terrorist organizations with cannon fodder than to give the area any help, or so the republicans seem to think.
We do see that the values supported by the Far Right Wing and the neo-conservatives are alive and well though. What? You say that it is unfair to characterize the far right as racist? Well I wish I could lay claim to this discovery, but the Washington Post offers this. Of course the same mechanisms that allows for this kind of behavior also reinforces the "rightness" of it.
If you are wondering what you can do to change things and help bring this country back to its real values, the answer is simple, there is an election coming up, Vote!
Friday, March 31, 2006
We find these items in the news.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 1:15 PM
Thursday, March 30, 2006
The seventh aphorism of the Khwajagan is Nigha Dasht, which we usually translate as "Watchfulness", but can also be translated as "attentiveness".
At this level of training the student works at completing the task of withdrawing his or her attention from its fixations in the Nafs and using attention for its intended purpose.
It would be incorrect to suggest that humans by and large have very little attention, it is just that for the most part that attention is focused on internal fantasy to the exclusion of all else.
In one sense, the aphorisms of the Khwajagan outline the path by which a person withdraws attention from the rich, addictive fantasy life provided by the Nafs and allows the student to focus attention on what actually is.
This, it must be stressed, is not some sort of "mental exercise", it requires the engagement of the whole person, body, mind and spirit.
Over one's life time attention becomes bound to Nafs. This is a complex process that involves an interaction between residual muscle tension, pathological breathing, and the "fixation on emotional content" which will involve all of the senses consciously or unconsciously.
Eventually, if this process is not reversed a person will probably become a Republican, start believing in Reagan-nomics and being irrationally angry with anyone or anything that does not match the internal "map of how things should be". This is the spiritual equivalent of "hardening of the arteries" (There are as many variations of this phenomena as there are different cultures).
In Sufi terms this is called Aqal al Rusubat "sedimentations of Consciousness" (It is interesting to note that "rusub" means both sediment or hardening through deposits, and also to fail in a test).
By the time a student is given Nigha Dasht as the central practice he or she has already done a great deal of work to reclaim all the energy that goes into holding the Nafs generated world view.
Nigha Dasht means constant vigilance and the active withdrawal of attention from the "objects of fixation" what the Yoga Sutras refer to as "Citta Vrtta", the twisting and turnings of the phenomenal mind.
The trick of course is to take all that extra attention and infuse the present moment with it.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 10:00 AM
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
I have made some changes to the comments section of the blog.
I had been meaning to do this for a while since Blogger has upgraded its commenting software a great deal and it now has features that are better than Holoscan.
What inspired me though was the recent attacks on this blog by a couple of hate filled losers who try to make up for the lack of meaning in their failed lives through attacking people who are different than them. In other words two members of the American Taliban. They hate Muslims and they wanted to indulge in some fun and games.
While I suppose I could have debated them here, but they didn't come for a debate, they came looking for a fight, and frankly I have no use for that particular form of cowardice.
So I do a little much needed updating of my blog template, and it is like spraying the place with a whole can of Asshole-B-Gone.
Sorry for any inconvenience.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 10:42 PM
Because it offers proof that not all Christians have their heads shoved firmly up their arses.
What with the assaults by the American Taliban here lately it is refreshing to know that they do not represent the majority of American Christians (who are by and large pretty decent folk)
Check out this ad from the United Church of Christ that has been rejected by the major networks.
The networks are seemingly only willing to air ads by the Right Wing intolerant churches.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 12:15 PM
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Back in 2003 The Dixie Chicks offended all of redneckdom by actually thinking, and having an opinion on George Bush and the war that ran counter to the party line.
I never understood why it has always been assumed that country and western music automatically had to be right wing and reactionary. Contrary to popular belief, wearing a cowboy hat does not automatically make you stupid.
BUT, the girls of the band did catch holy hell from the right wing, republicans, and the Christian right for daring to support the democratic process, and even worse in the eyes of Bushites, to think for themselves.
They were harassed, received much hate mail and even death threats from the American Taliban. But this does not seem have stopped them from expressing themselves.
If you go to the official Dixie Chicks website you can read about their new album "Taking The Long Way", and you can hear the song "Not Ready To Make Nice", which is, I guess, an answer to all the hate these women have gotten for exercising the freedoms that BushCo claims it wants to give to Iraq.
So Viva La Dixie Chicks!
(Now if I could only get more people to listen to the Burns Sisters Band)
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 11:22 PM
Friday, March 24, 2006
but I did.
Back in January I said that the real attack against our hard won freedoms would not be abortion rights. I suggested that the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade was a smoke screen to distract the American public from the real target, which is Griswold v. Connecticut, the decision that affirms our fundamental right to privacy.
I would bet that most of you who read this are too young to remember life before Griswold v. Connecticut, when the government in collusion with the Church thought that it was just fine to regulate every aspect of your private life, including your choice if and when to have children.
It was not a good time.
It looks like these times are coming back.
While South Dakota keeps us distracted with its attack on a woman's rights over her own body,
several other States are doing something even more insidious.
What we have is an attempt to ban and criminalize sex toys.
Yes, I know it seems silly, and a bit crude perhaps, but think about it for a second.
The State, led by the Republican party, and the Christian Right is insinuating itself back into your private life.
You can read about Mississippi's attempt to police your bedroom here (scroll down to the second entry) , and for information on the other States read here.
Of course you may be unconvinced that this is all that important, consider for a moment that these laws will be challenged, and the challenge will no doubt go the Supreme Court.
And how is the vote likely to go?
Well, the court just heard a case, one that was seemingly of little interest. The case, Georgia v. Randolph, involved the police searching a house without a warrant because they had been invited in.
Check out the case and the ruling at Talk Left and Read Roberts' dissent carefully. Justice Souter, who wrote the majority opinion, had this to say about Roberts' dissent:
Under the dissent's view, he wrote, "The centuries of special protection for the privacy of the home are over."
That is what the Bush Court is going to be giving us with its rulings.
You have two choices as I see it. You can do something about this now, at the next election, or you can listen to your children and grandchildren curse you for allowing the creation of the theocratic slave state that they suffer under.
It's up to you. You get exactly the government that you allow.
Right To Privacy
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 12:30 PM
Saturday, March 11, 2006
The sixth aphorism of the Kwajaghan is Baz Gasht which is usually translated as "Return"
To get to the meaning of this saying first we must notice that on the Enneagram of the aphorisms that Baz Gasht sits on the triangle portion of the symbol, which makes it of a somewhat different quality than the aphorisms that sit at the "moving" points.
The idea of "Return" is that you must develop the ability to be undistracted by sense phenomena and the contents of the Nafs, and that you must be able to do this without trying to shut out sense impressions or memories.
The analogy is that of a journey (as in "the journey to the homeland") where you are being presented constantly with new and fascinating things along the way. You must not become distracted by these things,or you may never finish the trip, but at the same time you must not ignore these things because they may have useful or even important information about the conditions of the trip.
The cultivation of this ability requires a very specific set of practices and if one has not mastered the proceeding steps then success is unlikely.
The idea is that you have made your intention to journey home and as you return you must keep your attention on your task, do not become distracted, remember your purpose.
This completes the second layer of the triad and I think you can begin to see some relationships now.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 5:01 PM
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Howdy Everyone! I am just back from a very successful seminar in Iowa (of all places) and I figure it is about time to catch up on this blog.
I just finished a weekend seminar for KSMA at its home base in Des Moines, Iowa.
Great fun was had by all. You can read a couple of reviews here and here. I will have something up with pictures and perhaps a video clip or two later.
But while I was gone there have been questions. I thought it would be good (and easier) to move them here and do my best to answer them.
I have a question about the review of the level one silat zulfikari video by a muhammad iqbal (on the zulfikar website). do you happen to kow that person? because he says that he found silat zulfikari to be even better than sombo and systema. i was wondering how well he knew sombo and systema. i did three months of systema in canada until i had to stop because of an unrelated knee injury. and now im in egypt, and i want to learn some martial arts. i became convinced from those few months that Systema is THE martial art for me, but silat zulfikari sounds enticing.
i dont suppose there's any practitioner in egypt?
also, for silat zulfikari,... do you have to be able to do the splits? i met this young indonesian silat teacher here in cairo, and he scared me away when he said i have to learn to do the splits (i think that's what its called anyway. in arabic the process of learning to do the splits is called "opening the pelvis" or something like that).
i just started aikido for now, but i hope to be able to do systema or silat zulfikari one day.
No, I do not know the guy. He bought a set of the DVD's and then sent back that review. As it happens I am always glad to print good press :)
As to Zulfikari being better than anything else, it is a matter of individual perception, and often has more to do with the player than the art.
I have a very good friend who is a Sambo champion, he is a superior martial artist in every way, but I suspect that this would be true no matter what art he studied.
As to Systema, I have three observations.
The politics are toxic in the extreme.
One of the head instructors was murdered in a knife fight under circumstances that were dubious at best. (I am less concerned with the fact that he lost the encounter than I am concerned that he had the poor sense to get himself into it in the first place).
The players I have personally met tend toward fantasy as to their skills against a fully uncooperative opponent.
But on the other hand, lots of people really love the art.
For myself, if there were an art that I thought was better than what I am doing now, I would be doing that. But different people want different things from their art, so the choice is a rather personal one.
No you don't have to do the splits.
Thank you for your words of wisdom. It is thanks to you (and divine plan) that i went to silat, and met Shaykh. Thanks. I remember wanting a teacher- and i believe it was you who said "yes, but did you ask for one yet?"
I remember that conversation :)
I also find it amusing that those who marginalized you have fallen away while you continue to progress. Life is funny that way.
and the freakin idiots just extended the "patriot act". What of the founding parties would have been in favor of that>?
82 to 16- or some such..
Indeed, the Right Wing has taken many steps to destroy democracy in the last six years, but the majority of Americans seem to welcome the loss of their freedoms, the huge debt they have incurred, the loss of life the policies of the Bush Regime has caused and the selling of our country to the multinational.
Bush is karma for people giving up their obligations to participate in the political process. Until America wakes up there is little that can be done.
I like those. What's amuses me most is that you reminded me about the serious conversation my religous, to the point of cultism (JPUSA), relatives had shortly after GW Bush was elected about whether or not he was the anti-christ.
Bill and I have been wanting to come down and visit, but between him & I having to work OT and family obligations we've been unable to get a day free. Hopefully very soon though.
It's good to hear from you!
I have always sort of figured at Bush is too Stupid to be the Anti-Christ (Though Carl Rove is another story :) )
We are all waiting for you and Bill to make it down here again, frivolity will ensue!
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 11:39 AM