Not One More: Mothers Unite Against Sexual Violence

Did you read “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA”?

Families do not have to sit idly by while gang rape, murder, sexual assault and kidnapping occur right here in our Charlottesville community.

Sex is a beautiful act between consensual adults. When one human being forces another human being into a sexual act, he or she is not having sex but committing a violent crime. Both victims and perpetrators lose themselves in fearful or violent thinking – both suffering from the loss of their humanity.

Saturday, Nov 22, 1:00 – 2:00 pm at UVA’s Madison Bowl

No matter your crimes, no matter your punishment, no matter what you tell yourself in the quiet moments of the night – you are a child of god and are worth a life.

Mothers Unite Against Sexual Violence is a non-denominational spiritual movement based on the common humanity of all human beings, based on the spiritual nature of our existence.

Join me for our first meeting on Saturday, November 22nd 1 – 2 pm. We will meet at UVa. We will bring lunch, friends, family, blankets, and songs – our daughters and sons. We will hold vigil together for all the silent human beings who were raped and all the silent human beings who have committed horrific acts of moral injury against themselves and another.

Phi Kappa Psi, named in this article, is at 159 Madison Lane. We will meet in Madison Bowl, the open green, just in front of the fraternity.

By inviting every mother we know and arranging care for our children if needed, we will let the students of UVA know that they are not alone. The most powerful message we could send is one of love, forgiveness and presence – all together.

We need mothers and fathers, from every corner of Charlottesville and the surrounding counties, to send a strong message to UVA. We need reporters, we need signage, we need every family member who can stand with us to come. We must not let this problem go quietly.

Not one more.

Share this, tell everyone, change your plans, tell people where you are going and why – we will not be the silent bystanders to these crimes anymore.

Join the Facebook event and invite your friends.

We Carry Memory Forward

Jeanne:John smiling“Relationships used to be easy…. right?” My client just finished her first out loud, honest-to-god, conversation about sex. We were sitting on the comfy leather couch at Divine Play, Three Principles Training Center. She, a mother of several children, wife and business builder, was at a loss for how sex was ever going to feel pleasurable, doable, or just “get it off the to-do list for gods sake!”

I hear these kinds of conversations all the time. I am not a shy person, and I love that people feel enough ease, comfort and freedom to speak openly with me. Sometimes this happens individually but lots of times it happens in groups. Women sharing about sex in groups? I know that sounds like some kind of therapy, but it’s not that.

What I do is share humanity with other women. Women who are married, have kids, want something to change – something to give. When these women step out of themselves for a moment, when they hear they are part of a greater whole and get a sense of how that all works – suddenly they aren’t so anxious, so fearful, so insecure. Instead, these women leave the couch feeling better – every time and always.

How does an educational program do that? It’s really simple: pain and suffering in our relationships is caused by memory. Memory of someone else and how they treated you. Memory of this man and what he once asked of you. Memories can be so seductive, after all he really didn’t take the garbage out when you asked! Or, you really were physically hurt by someone you loved. Whatever the memory, when we bring it forward we feel it all over again.

The simple science is the body feels what you think. The next time you are invited into a loving partnership with someone you trust, feel what is in the present moment. Let go of everything it is not. Don’t worry if it doesn’t “happen” the first time. You are human.

Join us for a weekend designed to bring you more satisfying relationships (without having to change the ones you are in) and more love. Have the Best Valentine’s Weekend of Your Life, Feb 6-8, 2015. Or contact us at info at divineplay dot com about a program that’s right for you.

Thought: Trick or Treat?

Jen and Becker Halloween1. My daughters imagine they are dancing and singing on the stage in front of an audience of adoring fans. Trick or Treat?

2. My client asks, “When am I going to stop making myself sad?” Trick or Treat?

3. My husband and I discuss a time when we made love almost everyday! Trick or Treat?

No matter your response to the above, whether you hear a trick or a treat in the description, there is one thing that all the above have in common. They are all concepts made up in our personal thinking.

“What?” You may be thinking. After all, imagining you are dancing on stage is very different than feeling sad. But is it?

All people create their reality through three laws of human psychological experience. These laws are universal and by themselves don’t tell you what to do, what to think or how to behave. Unlike religion or rules of conduct, these laws act similarly to gravity. When you know conceptually that gravity exists, it’s just an idea; but when you understand how it works, it opens your mind. A new understanding of gravity changes the way engineers build, or, more simply, it means you may be more cautious when picnicking under a coconut tree. Like understanding gravity, these three principles of human psychological experience provide an opportunity for a new understanding and new routes by which to build your life.

What are these principles and how do they work? It is very simple, so simple that you will have your own trick and treat responses to the very thought of them.

  1. Universal Mind: That everything is made up of the same building blocks, call it god, call it string theory, whatever you call it – it exists. And this is where our physical and psychological experience begins.
  2. Universal Consciousness: That there is an awareness of oneself in relation to other. A plant reaches for the sun. People know that they think.
  3. Universal Thought: Refers to all the content of our experience: thinking, sensation, emotion, and any personal stories we tell or anything that arises beyond our control. All of this content of experience is Universal Thought.

I hesitated even to enumerate the principles here because the life-altering experience comes not from the description of them, but from the understanding of them.

The next time you catch yourself experiencing thought, recognize your shared humanity, give thanks for the gift of thought, and enjoy the trick or the treat.

The End of Suffering

laughing_buddha_statue-1016x1024“The Buddha tailored his answers not only to the question but also to the questioner’s needs [§5, §99]. He could often detect the assumptions or beliefs lying behind a question [§66], and could tell when two questions—though widely different in their wording – were actually equivalent.” (DeGraff, 2010)

Two thousand five hundred years ago, a young man by the name of Siddhartha Gautama decided to leave his family and dedicate himself to the ultimate spiritual path – to find the end of human suffering. From the root of his experiences and teachings, Buddhism was born.

The focus of Buddhist practice is often called the middle way and is made up of a complex interplay of questions, dialogue and answers between a recognized enlightened human being (Siddhartha) and his students.

Most intriguing and often overlooked in preliminary introductions to Buddhism, was Siddhartha’s focus on what to give attention to when answering questions, and what not to dwell on. Through careful observation and study, Siddhartha’s teachings can be broken down into four classes of questions, “Those that deserved a categorical answer, those that deserved an analytical answer, those that deserved to be cross-questioned before being answered, and those that deserved to be put aside.” (DeGraff, 2010)

My favorite example of Siddhartha ‘putting aside’ questions is in the doctrine of no – self or Annata. “In fact, the one place where the Buddha was asked point-blank whether or not there was a self, he refused to answer. When later asked why, he said that to hold either that there is a self or that there is no self is to fall into extreme forms of wrong view that make the path of Buddhist practice impossible” (Bhikku, 1996). In this case wrong view is defined by the “element of self-identification and clinging, and thus suffering and stress” (Bhikku, 1996). Siddhartha was pointing at an essential component of Buddhist practice, recognizing the direction the question and/or the answer would lead the student.

While current day thinking leads to classifications, such as the four classes mentioned above, it is not at all clear that Siddhartha himself had any defining guide by which to answer questions. Instead, “Buddha explicitly cited the skill with which one addresses a question as a measure of one’s wisdom and discernment” (Degraff, 2010).

Siddhartha did not cling to classification and organization for the sake of intellectual rigor. Siddhartha was primarily concerned with the seed of the question, in what direction was the seed growing? Would the question lead to the cessation of suffering? In order to know the answer, it is not enough to know the question, one must see into the intent of the questioner.

What can we, modern day and unenlightened people, learn from Siddhartha? Instead of listening to what someone says, listen beyond the words. Hear the deeper feeling by which the words are executed. While you may not know what each word means, you will gain insight from looking deeper at the direction the feeling is going. This listening is not an analytical one, but one that is captured through insight. Analysis can never lead to enlightenment – at least not in the prescriptive way we hope to uncover.

For more on the end of suffering, listen to Jeanne’s recent radio show on this very topic!

References

Bhikkhu, Thanissaro. (1997). Dhatu-vibhanga Sutta: An Analysis of the Properties translated from the Pali. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.140.than.html

DeGraff, Geoffrey. (2010). Skill in Questions: How The Buddha Taught. METTA FOREST MONASTERY VALLEY CENTER, CA 92082-1409 USA OCTOBER. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/skill-in-questions.pdf

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