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The Spiritual r3VOLution Inspired by Ron Paul

[Note: This essay was originally published 2008-09-09, shortly after my return from the 2008 RNC. Thanks to friend and moderator photoshopwiz for serendipitously bringing it back to my attention today, at a time when I am searching and wondering about the purpose and mission of the Daily Paul going forward.]

Yesterday I said that my involvement in Ron Paul's campaign began as a political quest, but it has grown into a spiritual one. Spiritual questions are fundamental, eternal, and can only be answered by each individual. Who am I? Why am I here? What is this whole thing – life, the universe, everything - about? What happens to me when I die?

Not wanting to ask these difficult questions, most of us keep ourselves distracted nearly every waking hour. The media-entertainment complex takes advantage of our fear and desire to be distracted by offering up an endless loop of amusements: Cell-phones, video games, iPods, Blackberries (so you’re never out of touch, lest you have a silent moment – God forbid – to think, ponder or reflect upon your life!), movies, gossip, and of course "news." One of the biggest distractions of all is our political system, which has devolved into a system to divide and conquer Americans by appealing to our base, tribal natures and turn otherwise friendly neighbors against one another by focusing on differences rather than similarities.

The two parties may talk slightly differently and have different “platforms,” but by their actions and the fruits of their labors, they reveal themselves to be the same. They choose the most minor (but divisive) molehills to blow into the most outrageous mountains. Members of each party then claim those mountains as their own, climb atop them and fling stones and arrows at the other side. It accomplishes nothing but ego gratification for the participants and a tremendous, draining, emotional distraction for the spectators in the peanut gallery who think they have nothing better to do but propagate the same arguments they see on TV within their personal circle of friends, colleagues and family. Serious questions and debate get thrown under the bus.

*

But one thing to remember about this place – this place we all find ourselves together – is that no one gets out of here alive. We all share the exact same destiny, and that destiny is death. You’ll rarely have anyone on TV remind you of that – the whole point of the idiot box it to distract you from the ultimate destiny that you’re moving closer towards with each passing day.

To quote the Flaming Lips,

do you realize?
that everyone
you know
someday
will die?

Scary, isn’t it? So it is no wonder we distract ourselves with all manner of false concerns, blowing molehills into mountains, getting angry and emotional about all manner of trivia that at the end of your life won’t amount anything. You know the drill – just look at your life. Most people tiptoe through life on their way to death, not wanting to offend people, not wanting to get yelled at, not wanting hurt other people’s feelings, not wanting to get their own feelings hurt. It is a constant state of fear, and in order to avoid facing that fear, they “go along to get along.”

Some people might say it is depressing to talk about death. But understanding that there is no way to avoid your destiny can bring a new clarity of purpose to your life. You have only one life to live, what do you choose do with it?

*

Ron Paul sees with clarity the purpose of his life, but it was not until I experienced the cutthroat world of real politics at the RNC that I developed an entirely new level of respect for him. It takes courage to endure what Dr. Paul has endured. He is a human being, just like you. But how many of us have ever stopped to think how would it feel to stand alone in Congress, time and time again? How would it feel to face the laughter, ridicule, and mockery that he faced during the presidential debates? Would you be able to go toe-to-toe with Giuliani and patiently, kindly, and lovingly explain the roots of terrorism as a packed theatre crowd mocks you?

*

A word on love
One of the things that kept me sane on the plane ride home from Minneapolis was a book that my friend Brad, fellow MA alternate and all around good guy, gave me to read called The Servant. Among other things, it addresses a point of great confusion for most people regarding loving one's enemies.

How can you love an ax murderer, after all? It was in The Servant that I found the distinction of what this means. The Greeks had five words for love: eros, erotic love; storgé, love for family members; philos, brotherly / reciprocal love and finally, agapé – an unconditional love rooted in behavior towards others without regard to their due. In other words, do unto others as they would have them do unto you, regardless of how you feel about them personally.

What a blunt instrument the English language is, having only one word to cover so many distinct concepts!

When Jesus speaks of ‘love’ in the New Testament, he speaks of agapé, the love of behavior and choice, not of feeling. In this sense, to love your neighbor or your enemy (agapé) means to show them the same patience, kindness, humility, respect, selflessness, forgiveness, and honesty – regardless of whether you agree with them or not. Just as Dr. Paul does. He treats everyone – friends and opponents alike – with the same patience, kindness, humility, respect, forgiveness and honesty that constitute agapé love.

If I learned nothing more last week in Minneapolis, I learned this. All of this is more than just about electing presidents, and whether or not you’re going to join or leave the Republican Party. After the big vote, one of the MA delegates was telling me the story of what happened, through tears of sorrow and pain: “Before we came to Minneapolis, I never had any idea that all of this would happen – that it would all come down to this!”

We all share the exact same destiny. Most of the events that occur in your life are out of your control. The actions of other people are out of your control. Life’s best laid plans can all be shot to hell by some random, completely unpredictable event that blindsides you a Tuesday afternoon. Through all of this, the only thing that we have full control over is who we are going to be through all of it. They may laugh, jeer and ridicule you, but they cannot take away what you believe in and what you stand for. Only you can give that away.

Above everything, this is what Ron Paul has taught me. Not with words, but by demonstrating it with his own actions and his own life.

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Michael Nystrom's picture

Are you a bot?

I know they exist. Your comment looks very close to spam. The only reason I'm borderline cautious is because I think you might actually be so joyous in your religion, that you want to share it. I know how that happens.

Please don't take offense if you're not a bot. I've only had a few hundred characters by which to judge you.

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. - Alan Watts

I'm not a bot :)

I'm very glad you read my post Michael! I had to google the word bot because I wasn't sure what that meant. No offense taken :)

I hope you will take the time to go to the website I posted about
Life's Ultimate Questions http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v4/n2/life-quest...
and the other website titled:
Why Ron Paul
http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/voddie-baucham-ministries/...
written by the same author Pastor Voddie Baucham.

You are right to say I'm joyous, but not in my religion. I'm joyous in my relationship with the One Who saved me and changed my life, Jesus Christ.

Blessings, Tricia

"And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." Matthew 12:25
http://www.needgod.com/
http://www.geniusthemovie.com/

I just remembered that Voddie

I just remembered that Voddie Baucham who wrote the above article at
Answers in Genesis was a Ron Paul supporter. Sadly not many of my brothers and sisters in Christ supported him, but I'm glad Pastor Baucham did and was willing to share why. Here's another article he wrote titled Why Ron Paul?
http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/voddie-baucham-ministries/...

"And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." Matthew 12:25
http://www.needgod.com/
http://www.geniusthemovie.com/

That's beautiful

This weekend I went on a retreat with friends, and one was talking about god, and brought up:

How does he know God exists.

Basically because he has a sense of humor. And their are two sides to the cloth. The one we see now which makes no sense and on the other side is clarity when we get to see why such things happen.

Then I was talking with a friend below the golden gate bridge and looking at the swells coming in and the full moon lighting the way and was just blown away by the circadian rhythms of the earth.

Normally I'm awake until 1 in the morning or so, and everyone went to sleep around 2100 hrs. I laid in bed for a while, until around 23:30 (which is early for me) or so and tapped out, hearing the surf crushing against the rocks and beach below, my head covered in my sleeping bag as lights were on for safety, sleeping at Fort point in a bunk.

Then I realized, I've only had severe insomnia since they took away the bubbling brooks near my house, any other time I could hear the water bubbling away and crack my window a bit and fall asleep.

The sounds of nature are so beautiful and so in sync with our bodies. Mine prefers the noise of water. It was windy too and the combination let me drift off.

This morning I had oatmeal with molasses and it was wonderful. I don't like oatmeal but with molasses, it was incredibly good.

My son and all of the other kids had a great time and ran around the fort all day.

But something touched me deep inside (not my friend who was moaning in his sleep, hehe) but it felt so good to hear the surf, and talk and exercise and feel reality, disconnect from media of all sorts.

I think I do want to move close to a river once my son is grown, even if it's cold. I feel my connection with water, wood burning stoves, and like minded people.

Personally I think everyone and everything is the big GOD. And until the eternal slumber comes and whatever comes after, I think I want to enjoy every moment.

I also noticed I'd been watching a lot of TV and sitting around too much which I think also contributes to more internal noise, from not engaging.

Anyways, very nice post.

And I am grateful for my good friends. I would rather have a few really great ones than many not so great ones.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Why is God Laughing?

That is the title of a book by Depak Chopra. It is a novel. (That guy has written over 100 books!) The punchline? Because he gets the joke! Ha ha ha. I love that. We're all stressed out and uptight, and God is laughing because to him it is just a big joke. Maya. The grandest deception of all.

I love the sound of water. I remember it from when I traveled to Thailand, and slept in a hut near the beach. To hear that surf, all night long, lulling you to sleep. Oh, they are beautiful.

I do worry about the health impact of me running this website. It means a practically permanent connection to this online place. And I'm not sure that is healthy. Not something I considered during the campaigns, since I didn't really feel like I had a choice in the matter.

Choice, for me, has been restored. I am prepared to let the Daily Paul go, and give into the laws of fate and chance, and see where I end up. It is the story of my life. I just do that from time to time. The first time was when I dropped out of college to go live in Japan. Again to drop everything in '98 and take a trip around the world; To move to Taiwan on more-or-less a whim in 2003; To move back to Boston in 2005 - a city I'd never visited before; To start the Daily Paul in 2007.

Something about Lou Pinella, after all those great years in Seattle just up and quit. No warning. The shock. And the understanding. He'd just had enough. Time to move on.

And this. And I am grateful for my good friends. I would rather have a few really great ones than many not so great ones. I agree with this.

BTW, re I also noticed I'd been watching a lot of TV and sitting around too much which I think also contributes to more internal noise, from not engaging.

I recently decided to start walking more. 15 minutes to the grocery store; 40 min round trip. 25 minutes to the bank, one hour round trip. I walk, instead of driving. I work up a sweat. And I don't lose that much time, considering I'm killing two birds with one stone.

It has been invigorating. Having given up wheat, I'm losing about 2 pounds a week, I think. I'll take an audit at the end of the month.

But yeah, thank you for sharing, and for reading my post.

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. - Alan Watts

I too am on the verge of change

I am not exactly sure what it will be exactly yet. It is in my nature though. February 10th is the Chinese New Year. We begin the year of the snake. It is a time of transformation, of shedding old skin and starting new.

The best to you.

I like Depak Chora

I only have "How to Know God". My mom actually turned me onto him.

Around 15 years ago, I "figured out" life is a cosmic joke of sorts. It's not meant to take too seriously. The last month and a half has been particularly stressful, but could be worse.

The Buddha laughs, God laughs, and we should laugh, and not waste a moment's time.

Thank you for this forum Michael. It means a lot to me. I will chipin what I can after rent is due. Might not be much, but "everything counts in large amounts."

ytc's picture

I missed reading this and many DP posts around that time,

September 2008. We were catching up with two years' worth of chores, which were put on-hold during the 2007-8 pre-primary RonPaul campaign. In fact, we thought we might never return to DP after the move & such.

Now I see what a jewel of a post I missed. As Quilt mentioned four yrs ago, you are a superb writer, MichaelN.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Thank you. Nice to know

I remember how it was to be "done." There was an emptiness to it. I suppose people now are experiencing the same thing. Traffic dipped badly into the holidays. That is understandable. It is coming back. But sometimes I wonder if the DP is too wild and wooly. If it shouldn't be reigned in some.

As for me, I have a big blindspot for the two weeks after "Randmageddon" since I was in China. No YouTube in China. No Facebook either. The Daily Paul was not blocked, however.

Can you imagine, they block entire networks? They're building their own Youku (youtube) and RenRen (facebook).

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. - Alan Watts

Amen:

Someone shared with me this morning that there are perhaps two things you can take to heaven with you. A grateful heart and a renewed mind. Both are responses to a very generous King.

With all due respect, I will no longer be a voting prostitute for Constitution rejecting harlots.

Excellent Post Michael

Thank you very much for sharing this. I, in turn am sharing it with others.

God Bless,
Base

Question Everything - What Indeed Is The Future Of The DP?

Superb!

Michael Nystrom's picture

Bump for a repost

blast from the past, and thanks to photoshopwiz for the reminder.

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. - Alan Watts

rv 3 revolution !!!!

MICHAEL, this is great post . THANKS .YOU have a GREAT site.
says

Here is something special!

That is the most profound post I have ever read on the Daily Paul. The depth and insight transforms the perspective from the trivial to the eternal.

Your re-assessment of RP makes me appreciate both you and he more than ever. Bless you for bringing such wisdom back from the gates of hell.

Thanks
DP

Amen! Reading this post was

Amen! Reading this post was again, a very welcome learning experience!

Only didn't quite got this sentence "do unto others as they would have them do unto you, regardless of how you feel about them personally".

Isn't it more like, "do unto others as you want them do unto you?"

my two cents

Gen 1:1 - Luke 6:49

"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32 "But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

It is not easy I know but that is what we should all strive for. I read your account of the RNC. It touched me deeply. I know you have been enlightened to something bigger than yourself. I too do not know how Ron Paul could do what he has done for so long. I could tell from your description of the events that you had been overwhelmed by just a small sample of what this man has gone through for 30 years. I know it was a humbling experience for you. The reason I know is I felt it also at the missouri state convention. I found myself shaking hands with people and people talking about issues that to me seemed pure evil. I had many moment where I was talking and shaking hands but really I was almost in another world kind of like in the movies when someone is half in and out of concsiousness (like a haze). I remember hearing myself very clearly in my mind saying, "how does he do this how does he listen to them and just smile and keep on going". I was thinking how discouraged a person must feel to be around these people for a whole day of work and to watch them in their evil activities knowing you cannot stop them. Manny I really do believe this man knows God. I think he has to have a very good relationship with him. I think he is the real deal and a blessing from God. If not how could he do it. I know you know what I mean you've looked the beast in the eyes. It actually sucks the strength right out of you. His integrity is amazing. Peace bro your post have so much heart to them since you got back form the RNC. It's amazing what this man has done to all of us.

photoshopwiz's picture

I personally spoke with Dr. Paul ~

I saw the merry band of walkers and jumped out of the Ronvoy van. Hang on, I yelled to my fellow travelers... I want to take photos, and I'll catch up with you at the Federal Reserve Building. With that I ran to catch up with those on foot.

Ron Paul Crossing Minnesota River_Freedom Walk

I further hurried until I could reach Dr. Paul, who had joined the last leg of the Walk for Freedom. I can't believe I did it... but I impulsively went up...and hugged him!

Then I was fortunate enough to be able to walk next to him for about five minutes and asked several questions...one which was exceedingly important. Our 12-person Los Angeles Ronvoy was aching to do something revolutionary. I conveyed that message, telling him that after his speech, if he told the entire Rally for the Republic crowd that we were going to go march down to the RNC Convention and demand to be heard...everyone would enthusiastically follow him in a heartbeat.

His reaction? He seemed underwhelmed at the thought of this.

[I am guessing that he wanted to protect us since there was such a heavy plastic handcuffed-laden police presence around the CFR endorsed-chosen one's coronation building. The wicked witch monkeys from the Wizard of Oz were even willing to be happy henchmen...]

But...I pressed on with Dr. Paul...you have recently been mentioning that there will probably be a time when we will need to show civil disobedience...when should that time occur?

He answered...if they try to start another unconstitutional war...or wars...and start a draft.

I wanted something more immediate, but Ron Paul picks the best times to do battle.
~
Re Barr: another supporter and I asked him about who to vote for. Now, he plays his cards close to the vest and is hard to read but I got that it would be okay to vote for Ron Paul if he could be written in and that the vote would (hopefully) be counted...but if it would not, vote for someone else.

When Barr's name was brought up by another, I saw ZERO enthusiasm registered on Dr. Paul's part!

If you cannot write in Ron Paul, I say choose Chuck Baldwin. He is Dr. Paul's soulmate and a great partner in Liberty. IMHO, he can be trusted.

_____________

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. ~ John Quincy Adams
_★

Wow Wiz

You guys were having just way to much fun!

Thanks Wiz I trust your

Thanks Wiz I trust your insight

photoshopwiz's picture

that means a lot...

thank you SO much, krmaya!
~
I wanted Michael Nystrom to read my account, since I unfortunately missed getting to meet him in St. Paul...didn't have time to visit that local tavern where dailypaulers were gathering.

Being with the Ronvoy means you have to stick more with the group and can't venture off that much. er...I sometimes got into a bit of trouble since I'm so used to working solo!

Thank you for the story, wiz

Sorry, I am still full of anger about Barr and his folks. It reaffirmed me to read that Ron Paul seemed to be sceptic about him already. And today Bob Barr finally let Ron Paul down by not appearing at the press conference. Seems now he and his people are up to wreck the movement.

Dr. Paul cured my apathy

Ron Paul was right

photoshopwiz's picture

you have every right to be angry, colognepaulist

...we have our radar out and the true patriots can smell a phony a mile away.
That's why we are madly in love with the doc, and have respect for Baldwin and Kucinich.

Barr always seemed like a Ron Paul wannabe...like a creepy stalker in a Lifetime channel flick...who wants to steal your identity and lifestyle.

Pirate Barr...Avast me hearties! I'll just adapt his platform, and they will send me all their gold
~
Brilliant analysis by Treg...I think I will bump this thread...

http://www.dailypaul.com/node/54965
Wayne Allen Root = Sociopath, Bob Barr = Little Napoleon, My Days at Freedom Fest

I agree with you again!

I somehow like Baldwin too. His speech on the Washington march was great. He has charisma and his heart on the right spot.

Dr. Paul cured my apathy

Ron Paul was right

Wow, wiz, great story!

However, I think Carol is his soulmate -- Chuck can be his BFF.

; D

___________

Lisa C.

**This space is available.**

Ron Paul "Sign Wave Across the USA" -- November 5th!

photoshopwiz's picture

ha!

guess Dr. Paul can have two...

I always thought of Dennis Kucinich as his Congresssional BFF

Thanks for a great post, Michael.

For me, the progression was the reverse, i.e. from spirituality to libertarianism. A member of the "spiritual" wing of the "60s generation", after surviving the Haight/Ashbury and some years of psychedelic experimentation I turned to the study and practice the Buddha's teaching at a California Zen Center.

I was in my tenth year there in 1981 when one day, by a kind of fated accident, I happened to hear from a friend that the income tax is voluntary. At first, of course, I scoffed; but a nasty letter from the IR&S spurred me to investigate... and my mind was blown, as I began a process of education that eventually resulted in learning that nearly everything I had been taught and told, and believed, during my entire life, about politics, economics, history and similar subjects, was totally false: a gigantic fabric of lies, and not at all by accident.

Until then I had been your common, garden-variety California left-liberal lite-socialist: peacenik (went to Canada in 1967 to escape the last stupid, unConstitutional war), environmentally-concerned, etc. But as I began to study libertarianism, I realized that my approach to these concerns (which I still hold) was in diametric opposition to my spiritual beliefs and practices. As a Buddhist, my spiritual life was (and is) based on the principle of absolute personal responsibility (and the absolute personal freedom to fulfill that responsibility); but then, I realized, I would go out in the world and support, and vote for, leftist political ideas which completely contradict and subvert that principle.

Thus for me, the discovery of libertarianism (in particular the Non-Aggression Pledge, which distills the whole subject into one simple principle) enabled me to bring my worldly, political life into harmony with my spiritual life and practice -- though it has rather isolated me from my spiritual community, who somehow seem not to have figured it out. (I know of only one other declared libertarian Buddhist -- or Buddhist libertarian, for that matter -- despite the natural and perfect affinity between the two.)

I discovered Ron Paul that same year, and immediately sent him a contribution, my first ever to a political candidate. I had the pleasure of meeting him in 1988, when he visited the city where I now live (and was then active in the Libertarian Party). I was immediately struck by his character and presence, and by his presentation of a political philosophy that would allow people of the most divergent views and lifestyles to live together in peace. And, of course, most of all by his own example of living by that philosophy. If all Christians (or even a significant number) were like Dr. Paul, I could actually see Christianity as a force for good in the world.

Some may find it odd, but when I think of Ron Paul, the person who comes closest to him in my mind is the Dalai Lama. They were born only seven weeks apart in the summer of 1935, and both exemplify a life of spiritual principle in the secular world. It is possible, though of course seldom easy. But as you point out, "No one here gets out alive," and all we can take with us is the character we have built by our actions in this life. In Buddhism this is called karma, and it determines what we experience next.

What may result in the world at large from Ron Paul's efforts remains to be seen; but for me the most important result is exemplified in your post, Michael: the opportunity he has given us all to examine what is truly most important in life. I expect he would be pleased to know that he has given you such serious food for thought.

We all die as amateurs

www.dvds4delegates.com the newest and possibly the greatest weapon the Revolution now possesses.

we only do it once.

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must. like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.-Thomas Paine

The R3volution requires action, not observation!!!!

This post was really powerful

and I just want to add that, in Christ and Christ alone, there is eternal hope beyond this life. We will all die, but our souls will live on. Apart from Christ there is eternal death, but in Him, there is eternal life. The principles Dr. Paul lives by demonstrate this and we have all see them in this man of principle and truth. The source of the goodness, honesty, and integrity that we have witnessed comes from God Himself, through Jesus. If there's anything I hope for everyone on this forum, who already are aware of so much that's going on, it's that all would realize their need to be reconciled to God through Christ. His love is agape love, it is a love that desires all to be saved through Him. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But God made The Way, Christ, by which we can all be saved. Turn from your sins and turn to Christ who will welcome you with open arms, forgiving you and giving you new life! It is good to stand for righteousness and truth on the earth, promoting justice and defending the poor, but it is most important to prepare for eternity while there is still time. There is only one way and it is Jesus. He desires that all would come to repentance and that none should perish because His love is perfect. He IS love. What good news!

It appears someone read my email and took it to heart

Nice post Michael,

This has reaffirmed for me that I should be doing all I can to get my own site up and running. Thanks for the encouragement. I'll let you know when I finally get it going. Peace be with you.