Choosing Our Own Way

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Viktor Frankl

Often, we decide what the right direction is for us based on what it is for others. Then we find that we are stuck with a goal without the necessary desire to reach it. A person may decide to go into his own business because he does not like authority. He does not consider how much he hates paperwork, long hours, paying people from money that he has not yet earned, and that he can’t do it all by himself. Instead of looking within to find what the real problems are and what the personal solutions might be —he looks outside to see what others had done.

This is the kind of confusion that we are faced with when we try to follow guidance from outside, and not of from within. When this choice becomes difficult, instead of seeking a different solution, most people just stick with the plan but find any number of obstacles to place in their paths to prevent its completion. They tell themselves and others that it is not that they won’t do it; it is just that there are too many things going on which currently stand in their way. What is really in their way is that it is not their goal. They do not have the passion to walk the chosen path. If we have no passion for what we do with our lives, we cannot do those things well or for long without getting sick, or off balance in some way.

This causes us to consciously face a direction that we are unconsciously running away from. This results in deadlock. I have seen many people in this position one way or another. They complain that everyone else gets opportunities except them; something always gets in their way. Or it is their karma to fail. That is just not true. What they are doing is building their lives from the plans of others. They are making choices based upon the successes of others. It is easier to walk the beaten path than to pave ones own. There was a time when that it worked for most people. Now, we are in an age of individuality. Difficult as it may seem, we are being forced from an inner need for satisfaction from a constant lack of external reinforcement to forge our own path to our own goal.

We have traveled far from that sacred connection to our true selves. Instead of deciding at which place we want to arrive, we first need to decide what inner satisfaction awaits us there, how much we are willing to sacrifice, and most importantly, before we follow another’s path, we must be certain that where others have gone holds the same treasure for us. Once we know the price we are willing to pay, and what it is that we really expect for that price, we have something that we are capable of working with. There really are two different soul paths: those for whom the destination justifies the journey and those for whom the journey is the destination.

It is not a question of one being the right way, and one being the wrong way. It is a question of which way is right for each individual. Some of us become workaholics because we want more and more; we do it for the prize at the end. Others become workaholics because their joy comes from the work they do. Again, neither is right nor wrong. To try to develop the attitude that others say is right, or to attempt to see the truth as others see it, can only lead to miserable and unfulfilled lives, if it is not our own way. There is a difference between what feels right and what others say is right. In these times, we are being asked to find that difference for ourselves.

Those who live their lives based on what works for others cannot remain committed to what they do. Who we are is what dictates what we can do well. We can only do well and for a sustained period of time, that which is in alignment with who we are. Otherwise self-esteem suffers; either we feel like failures, or we feel unsatisfied which leads us to feeling that we are defective because we are missing what we have been told is the obvious.

This is a time when personal truth, rather than conformity is needed for our own inner well-being and for the well being of the whole, every aspect of our living must reflect the inner self. The Native American names such as: Lone Eagle, Running Bear, Night Watcher, are given based on the persons own unique qualities. They are invited to live their lives in fulfillment of those names. There was a time when we all took names that mirrored who we were. We were once in touch with ourselves and with our environment. We are being asked by our souls to return to that ancient spiritual center. We are being called from within to live who we are, to love who we are, and to do what reflects who we are. This is the dawning of a new age, an age of truth. We neither find happiness, nor satisfaction in living anyone else’ s life. No one ever stands in the way of those who know where they are going. We have to go where we know from within.
When the world was disconnected, and there were such a things as distant shores, the structure of society was much stronger. The strength of a society or a religion to influence its members or followers rests strongly on the limitations of outside information that could otherwise be an influence or create choices that do not exist within the structure. The rules worked, not because they were right but because they were the only rules and pertained to everyone.

Since the end of WWII, slowly but consistently distant shores have become neighbors. Members of completely different societies have been unable to prevent the exchange of information. The world of yellow and the separate world of blue remain intact and self-fulfilling so long as yellow remains separate from blue. The rules of right and wrong, and even cause and effect work for all members of the yellow society or religion as they do for the blue although they may be in total contradiction with each other. However, when the members of the blue group and the members of the yellow group begin to mingle and share beliefs and information, a new green group emerges which inevitably destroys both the yellow and the blue. It does this because suddenly there exists and option, a choice, a way not previously known to either yellow or blue. In actuality it does not destroy the two separate groups but instead it is what they become, the product of their evolution.

The internet has completed the erasure of true borders, the world has now become a melting pot, and so, we can no longer look to any external governing principal for our lives, and how we live them or the direction that will work. We must now look within. There are too many truths ‘out there’ to find the one that will work; we must now journey deep into our own hearts and our own souls to find the truth that supersedes contradiction. This is the inner truth.

Mankind has mastered the lessons of leadership and brute force in the Age of Aries; it mastered the lessons of the herd mentality, the pain, suffering and fear of standing outside of the group, and the manipulations of power in the age of Pisces. It has now entered the school of equality through individuality. In this course, pain and suffering will come from inside when we feel our sense of self diminished. These are the ultimate challenges and lessons of the Age of Aquarius. It is not the energy of the individual merging and losing itself into the group but rather the group growing and becoming greater through the distinctly unique contribution of each individual. We are beginning to suffer depression and illness – not from being isolated from the group, but from being isolated from the self. Many of us think to ourselves, ‘I have what everyone says that I should have, I do what everyone says I should do, my life contains all of the pieces that everyone says should make me happy, yet, the pieces will not fit and I am slowly dying’.

Most people are too embarrassed to admit the panic and confusion that overtakes them when someone says, “Just be yourself”. The truth is, very few people know how to do that, or who that self is. So our first step in finding a fulfilling direction is finding the self that is seeking fulfillment and becoming an expression of that true and unique self living within each of us.

A Time To Reap

Ecclesiastes 3

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to reap that which is planted.
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.
A time to get and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

I have always had a difficult time with Ecclesiastes.  Verses like this,  3:16 “And still under the sun in the judgment place I saw wickedness, and in the seat of justice, iniquity”.  It seemed to me that the Teacher was saying that there is no justice.  Then I realized that this is not what that means.  in the following verse, 3:17 “And I said to myself, both the just and the wicked God will judge, since there is a time for every affair and on every work a judgment.”  I realized that the key is time.  There is a time to everything.  In the next verse the Teacher goes on to say, 3:18 “I said to myself: As for the children of men, it is God’s way of testing them and of showing that they are in themselves like beasts.” During the time of planting, we may plant anything we choose.  We may plant love, or hate.  We may plant generosity or selfishness.  We may plant the seeds of giving or the seeds of taking,  and here, under the Sun, it will seem unfair that criminals get away with the things that they do, and poor people, even honest people can be judged wrongly and punished unjustly.  There is no justice, under the Sun, during the time of planting.  Justice, however, comes to all, when it is time to reap what we have planted.  I have seen people who give so little of what they have, and still get more and more.  Of these people I have heard others say that they must have done something good in their past life for God to give them so much, in the way of material success, and power.  I have never see it this way.  Wealth, power, fame, these are all tests, these are seeds given to those who are to be tested in their ability to to fight the temptations of the world.  What will they plant with the wealth and power to plant anything?  Well, today, and for the rest of our lives, and into the lives of our children, we will be reaping what has been sown, and karma will be instant.

We have all heard about 2012 and the Mayan end times. Most of us realize that it is not the end of the world, but the end of life as we know it. So, what happens at the end? Before we can move on to something new, we have to tie up any loose ends. One circle has to close before another can be begun. We are completing a cycle. How many times have we all said, “What goes around comes around?” This is where we are.

On a grand scale, we are seeing this in the oil that is flowing into the ocean. Many of the prophesies tell us that this is a time of choice. Prophecy Rock tells us that this is the time where the road forks, The lower fork is followed by the one hearted people (those who think with their hearts, leads to survival and eventually paradise, the upper path represents the path followed by the two hearted people, those who do not use their hearts – who are connected only with the material world, leads to self destruction. The path to paradise is a spiritual path, it is a path of love, of compassion, of remembering that we have been given custodianship of the earth and all of the species living on this planet. The other path, the one we have been on, is the path of forgetting, forgetting that all rights include responsibilities, that we cannot take without giving back. The laws of karma are the laws of balance, of cause and effect. We do get what we give. Sometimes we get it later, and sometimes we get it sooner. We are in Iraq and in Afghanistan because of decisions made by George Bush Sr. upon first entering Iraq.

We relied on luck, cut corners, got away with it, profited by it and believed that we were entitled. We believed, some of us, that we were more entitled than anyone else. And we believed, that what we were doing, somehow, was backed by God. The other day I was thinking about luck, about how luck seems to be gone. Then I heard these words in my head, ‘Luck is the rope that the Universe gives us to hang ourselves’. Yes, we managed to corrupt everything and get away with it. Well, we were not lucky, and we were not entitled. You could say that we were in the right place at the right time. We have been living during an age that we might call the season of planting. To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven. It is not lucky when you get to go through a green light. This has been the time of the green light.

Now is the beginning of the season of reaping. It is the harvest, time to separate the chaff from the wheat. It is the fork in the road. I believe that there are many on earth today with one heart. I believe that there are many on earth today who will somehow, wake up to the truth and move into the world of oneness, compassion, love and responsibility. Those who awaken will feel the connection, the personal connection with the earth and with all that live on her. They are the seeds of the new planting. During the time of planting, Spirit gives us all of the rope that we ask for, to use as we choose, with total freedom. We can use it selfishly and amass a personal fortune while others starve, die from our greed as acceptable losses or collateral damage. Or we can choose to change, give back what we do not need, and find in our hearts what we really do need. But I believe that this last disaster, on the ocean floor, exemplifies all that is wrong with us. It is the result of our obsessive need to consume, our heartless disregard for life. It shows our irresponsibility, and our psychotic belief that we have the right to do anything that we have the power to do, and that freedom of will, somehow implies freedom from consequences.

We can trust the signs, or just be willing to err on the side of conscience, or ignore the signs, ignore the warnings, leave our hearts in cold storage and pay the price?. I have a feeling that we cannot survive the extinction of the dolphin. They are our last connections to the soul of the earth. We are paying now for all that we have done. Let us ponder the phrase, “the meek shall inherit the earth”.

“Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.” Ezekiel 12:2

Message to the United Nations (Another Attempt)

Delivered and Submitted by Martin Gashweseoma, Caretaker of the Sovereign Hopi Nation to the General Assembly November 22, 1993

For The Great Spirit, Massau’u:

We come here from the Sovereign Hopi Nation to attend the Cry of the Earth Conference at the United Nations. We are proud that you have opened the door for us. My name is Martin Gashweseoma. As Hopi, we have come here to present our message which is about how we first came here from the previous world.

The Hopi way is to lead a good life. We still have the sacred stone tablets given to us by the Spider Woman. This is our title and deed to this world, and it was given to us with the life plan to follow, and with strong instructions and serious warnings. It was a good life. When the rains came and brought a lot of moisture, then our crops would yield enough for all living beings, including the ants, animals, birds, plants and human kind.

Before leaving the previous world, we came up here to ask permission from the Great Spirit, Massau’u, if we could live here with him because the world down below had become corrupted. He told the people, ‘It is up to you if you are willing to live with full respect for my way of life.’ They said, ‘Yes we are willing to live your way.’ So with his consent we came here, into this new world. This world is where the Great Spirit, Massau’u, first appeared to all first peoples and gave them their instructions and rules to follow. Then the Spider Woman laid before them ears of corn of different colors from which to take their sustenance and livelihood. The greediest people hurried to pick out the longest ears. But the Hopi, being the most humble, waited until last and chose the shortest ears of corn. Spider Woman then gave each group of people their own language and name and told them to migrate to every corner of this continent leaving their footprints, clan markings, and ruins to claim this land.

Before the migrating peoples arrived at the place where the Great Spirit, Massau’u, lives, he used to take walks nearby his home. Coming back home, bringing back violet flowers, he dropped them along the way. After discovering he had dropped the violet flowers, he went back to look for them, but the flowers had already been found by the Horny Toad Woman. The Great Spirit, Massau’u, asked if she would give it back but the Horny Toad Woman refused. Instead, she told him that in time there would be a crisis in this world, with which he would need help. At that time she would be there with her steel helmet to help. Meaning that someday if the Hopi got into trouble, a group of people with the steel helmet would help them.

The Great Spirit, Massau’u, let the first group who had found him live there and settle down. Each subsequent group of people who came to settle in Oraibi after their migrations were allowed to stay based on judgment of their character and how they had traveled when they were searching for the Great Spirit. Those who were boastful and arrogant were sent away to the east. Those of humble and sincere hearts were allowed to stay and keep the ceremonials in the proper manner to ensure rain for the crops and all living things. After this was settled, all the things that were to come were told to the first people in Oraibi by the first people that came from the underworld.

The people were told of another race of people who would come to this land and claim it as their own land. We were told not to accept anything these people would offer to us, but it will tempt us and be hard to resist. They would be intelligent and the inventors of many things. Now we realize that these people are the light-skinned people, the Bahanas. We were told of something that would come that would be pulled by animals, meaning wagons or carts. And ones that would run very fast, meaning automobiles. We were told of the land being cut up by long roads and fences, and of highways that would be built in the sky. And that women would adopt male clothing. And that the secret of women, with clothing, covered, would no longer be secret, but be revealed and exposed.

When this happens, all the world leaders people will be corrupted and will not know whom to look to for direction to correct this corruption. It will mean that we are all nearing the end. Then the wars will come about like powerful winds, and will spread from country to country and bring Purification or Destruction to this world. The more we turn away from the instructions of the Great Spirit, the more signs we see in the form of earthquakes, floods, drought, fires, tornadoes, as Nature makes ready her revenge. All of this will happen at one time along with the wars and corruption. We see this now as young children become angry, killing each other and their parents. They show no respect. We are all corrupt. If this Purification does not materialize, then the world will turn over 4 times and will leave only ants here to start a new life. Before people came to this world they were sick, just as today, we are sick from all this corruption. Now we are seeking a way to solve our present situation. This is the last world, we are not going anywhere from here. If we destroy this, the highest world, we will be given no other chances.

Let us consider this matter seriously so that this world is not destroyed, so that we can continue to live and save this land and life for the generations to come.

Denise Gibel Molini

Whose Heart Is God Hardening Now, and Why?

image Exodus 4:21 The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”


Exodus 7:3 “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.”

When Moses wanted to appeal to Pharaoh in order to convince him to allow the Hebrews to leave Egypt, God advised Moses that he would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that Pharaoh would not allow the Hebrews to go free.  What followed, the plagues, the death of children all happened because God meant for them to happen.  In fact, in the study of the Old Testament there is a great deal of destruction and conquering, it is really brutal.  And what is important about that is the fact that the major disasters which occur in the Bible are all orchestrated by God.  It should be noticed that in the Bible, the false idols are statues built of gold.

image

Another ancient spiritual text, the Bhagavad-Gita centers entirely around a battle.  On the surface, like the Bible, we have a story about Arjuna and his relationship with many of the people on the other side of the battle.  We know that he is a great warrior, but it seems that many of those people that he will be required to kill, were also important to making him into the man that he has become. The Bible seems to be filled with unfairness, and ambiguity.  Many Jewish Sages have created back stories to make just what seems unjust, but it is still adding details to a story thousands of years after the story was written.  In the Bhagavad-Gita  the Lord Krishna, who had been posing as Arjuna’s charioteer gives us a spiritual view of the story, depicting it as an external playing out of a human internal battle.

It was understandably easier for the eastern philosophies to be clear in the meaning of their stories because they were not competing with so many other regional belief systems that made it necessary to make the hide the teachings in stories without explanation.  But it is my belief that all religious stories are meant to be inner journeys and that all of the experiences that we have in the world around us are the physical manifestations of those inner journeys to be taken by the soul.

025

There is no other way to make sense of the world that we live in.  Today in the United States there is a hardening of the hearts of Republicans and some Democrats who call themselves “Conservative” to the suffering of Americans who, because of the cost of living, the economy and subsequent unemployment, and the rise in catastrophic illness and its cost are literally dying and losing what little they have.  There is no explanation for these statistics except that God has hardened the hearts of of those who could make a difference.

It is easy to see why some people believe that we have been abandoned by God.  It is easy to see this if we see life as beginning and ending with the body.  From that perspective, either there is no God, or God is uncaring and capricious.  Life is as senseless as so many stories in the Bible.  But we are not these bodies we are the souls within them.  And God did not create the world and turn away, the world is recreated every moment, with every life born into it.  Flesh and blood come from the earth, come from man, but life, the life force that animates us and all that is, comes from and exists within God.  It is not manmade.

So God is here and God is Love.  The experiences that we have are lessons for the soul and the bodies that we wear to have these lessons are no different than a school uniform.  Rich, poor, black, yellow, red, brown, white, all are nothing but parts of the lessons in this life. Their meaning is personal and universal but only within the life in which we wear them.  The soul has not race, nor does it have a gender.  It has wealth but that wealth is measured in love, compassion, and understanding.

The following statistics, are proof that our hearts have been hardened, and proof that there can be no recovery because our hardened hearts will not permit us to make the only changes that would prevent what lies ahead.  And so we will fall, and that falling is what will free us, what will part the Red Sea – the sea of suffering and oppression that enslaves us all.

At-Risk Americans: The Uninsured And Underinsured

By Janis McMillen

Data from multiple sources agree that in 2007, 47 million Americans (15.6 percent of the total U.S. population) lacked any kind of health insurance coverage. When these numbers are adjusted for age (excluding those 65 years and older), the uninsured percentage of the population rises to 17.9 percent. Moreover, it is estimated that 25 million adults under age 65 were underinsured during 2007, despite having insurance all year. In total, 42 percent of all adults (86.7 million) were either uninsured or underinsured during 2007.

Putting a face on persons who were uninsured or underinsured during 2007 and 20081

  • Age: One of three people under age 65 were uninsured for some or all of 2007 and 2008; of the total uninsured population, 60.1 million were adults (between 19 and 64 years of age)
  • Duration: Among the underinsured/uninsured, 74.5  percent were uninsured for nine or more months and one-quarter were uninsured the entire 24 months
  • Employment status: 80 percent of individuals who were uninsured were in working families and only 16 percent were not in the labor force (due to disabilities, chronic illness, or serving as family caregivers)
  • Income: Nearly 60 percent were in families with incomes below the federal poverty level (FPL: $21,200/year for a family of four); 52 percent with incomes between 100 to 200 percent of FPL went without health insurance in 2007/2008
  • Racial and Ethnic origin: 55 percent of Hispanics/Latinos, 40.3 percent of African Americans and 34 percent of other racial or ethnic minorities had no health insurance in 2007/2008, compared to 25.8 percent of whites.  While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be uninsured, whites accounted for 49.8  percent of the uninsured
  • Age breakdown: The likelihood of being uninsured declines with age; 49.5 percent of those 19 – 24 years old, 36.3 percent of those 25 – 44 years old, 32.5 percent of those 45 – 54 years old and 21.2 percent of those 55 – 64 years old were uninsured over this two-year time period. The 55- to 64-year-old age group consumes more health care on average than younger adults.

For all ethnic and racial groups, lower-income families and individuals were more likely to be uninsured than lower-income whites. This disparity continues even as incomes rise in all groups.

There is a marked increase in the number of adults having difficulty paying medical bills – the most visible consequence of the weakening in insurance coverage. In 2007, 41 percent of adults (72 million people) reported problems paying medical bills, faced bill collectors or were in debt for medical care, up from 34 percent or 58 million in 2005. The majority had insurance at the time these bills were incurred2 – well in advance of the economic downturn.

1 All statistics above and below are from http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/publications/reports/americans-at-risk-findings.html

2The statistics in this paragraph are from http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/Testimonies/2009/Feb/Testimony-Insurance-Design-Matters-Underinsured-Trends-Health-and-Financial-Risks.aspx

Janis McMillen (LWVUS Board member and LWVKS) is chair of the LWVUS Health Care Education Task Force.

Produced by the LWVUS Health Care Education Task Force, 2009

Poverty Facts and Stats

Author and Page information

  1. Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.Source 1 

  2. More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening.Source 2 

  3. The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.Source 3 

  4. According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”Source 4 

  5. Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.If current trends continue, the Millennium Development Goals target of halving the proportion of underweight children will be missed by 30 million children, largely because of slow progress in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.Source 5 

  6. Based on enrolment data, about 72 million children of primary school age in the developing world were not in school in 2005; 57 per cent of them were girls. And these are regarded as optimisitic numbers.Source 6 

  7. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.Source 7
  8. Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.Source 8
  9. Infectious diseases continue to blight the lives of the poor across the world. An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, with 3 million deaths in 2004. Every year there are 350–500 million cases of malaria, with 1 million fatalities: Africa accounts for 90 percent of malarial deaths and African children account for over 80 percent of malaria victims worldwide.Source 9 

  10. Water problems affect half of humanity:
    • Some 1.8 million child deaths each year as a result of diarrhea
    • The loss of 443 million school days each year from water-related illness.
    • Close to half of all people in developing countries suffering at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits.
    • Millions of women spending several hours a day collecting water.
    • To these human costs can be added the massive economic waste associated with the water and sanitation deficit.… The costs associated with health spending, productivity losses and labour diversions … are greatest in some of the poorest countries. Sub-Saharan Africa loses about 5% of GDP, or some $28.4 billion annually, a figure that exceeds total aid flows and debt relief to the region in 2003.Source 10

     

  11. Number of children in the world
    2.2 billion
    Number in poverty
    1 billion (every second child)
    Shelter, safe water and health
    For the 1.9 billion children from the developing world, there are:

    • 640 million without adequate shelter (1 in 3)
    • 400 million with no access to safe water (1 in 5)
    • 270 million with no access to health services (1 in 7)
    Children out of education worldwide
    121 million
    Survival for children
    Worldwide,

    • 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (same as children population in France, Germany, Greece and Italy)
    • 1.4 million die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation
    Health of children
    Worldwide,

    • 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized
    • 15 million children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS (similar to the total children population in Germany or United Kingdom)

    Source 11

     

  12. Rural areas account for three in every four people living on less than US$1 a day and a similar share of the world population suffering from malnutrition. However, urbanization is not synonymous with human progress. Urban slum growth is outpacing urban growth by a wide margin.Source 12 

  13. Approximately half the world’s population now live in cities and towns. In 2005, one out of three urban dwellers (approximately 1 billion people) was living in slum conditions.Source 13 

  14. In developing countries some 2.5 billion people are forced to rely on biomass—fuelwood, charcoal and animal dung—to meet their energy needs for cooking. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 80 percent of the population depends on traditional biomass for cooking, as do over half of the populations of India and China.Source 14 

  15. Indoor air pollution resulting from the use of solid fuels [by poorer segments of society] is a major killer. It claims the lives of 1.5 million people each year, more than half of them below the age of five: that is 4000 deaths a day. To put this number in context, it exceeds total deaths from malaria and rivals the number of deaths from tuberculosis.Source 15 

  16. In 2005, the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest fifth just 1.5%:The poorest 10% accounted for just 0.5% and the wealthiest 10% accounted for 59% of all the consumption: 

  17. Shah, Anup. “Poverty Facts and Stats.” Global Issues, Updated: 22 Mar. 2009. Accessed: 25 Nov. 2009. <http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

Today we live in an age where information is at our fingertips.  We cannot hide from what is all around us and because of this, we are responsible for it.  Yet we do nothing.

When the pharaohs heart was hardened it was because Egypt had become a nation that worshipped the golden calf.  What is the golden calf but money, power, and all of the things that turn one away from God.  Had Moses convinced Pharaoh to free the Hebrews it would not have been because he had seen the error of his ways, nor because he had realized that the Egypt had become corrupt and inhumane, no, it would have been nothing more than a gesture made to the brother he grew up with.  Had he released the Hebrew slaves, he would have simply increased the numbers of the other slaves.  It was time for Egypt and the Hebrews to see what happens when man turns his back on God and on his fellow man for the sake of the wealth that gold promises.

Man has lost his heart.  The industrialized nations of the world are Egypt.  In the United States, Congress represents Pharaoh and its heart has been hardened to the plight of the majority of the people.  The government and all of those with power worship at the alter of insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, banks, and all of the movers and shakers Wall Street.  And we are the Hebrew slaves.  We are enslaved by the insurance companies that take our money and give back nothing.  We are enslaved by the pharmaceutical companies that charge so much for medications that people die because they cannot afford them.  We are enslaved by the banks that charge so much money for credit card interest that we can never pull ourselves out from the debt that they pile on our backs.

We are the slaves and we are not going to be freed.  Those who could free us have had their hearts hardened.  We will be freed when the system collapses under the weight of its own inequity.  We will be freed by God, but that will only be the beginning.  We have already been given the commandments by which we must live.  We already know they type of people we must become to enter the promised land.  We must become the promised land.  We must build something new.  We must not attempt to recreate the golden towers that enslaved us.  We must redefine success and greatness.  We must establish a new path for our children to follow, one that is not for the self but for all.  We must become one people, and one family.  We will have no choice.  We are slaves, but it is time to build a free world.  We will not recover, we must reinvent.  We must acknowledge the chains that bind us and know we are bound by the chains of our desires.  And when we relinquish those desires, we unlock the chains. We will then lift the fog that hides our future and once again see a light to follow.