Photo from entitled “Homeless John”, by Leroy A Skalstad.

by John Donnelly…….

Callousness and contempt hinged upon self-absorption, narcissism and an inflated-sense of self; has given rise to indignant and rage filled conversations, some of which have triggered violent attacks in mainstream America. On too many occasions these types of exchanges have led to murder. Unfortunately, this aggressive form of political expression has become an accepted mode of behavior; even a sought after means of communication.

A palpable downward spiral has maligned much of the joy, innocence and goodness once integrated within the fabric my life, which I enjoyed as an observant young boy growing up in the South Bronx. When passing a house of worship we were taught to make the  “sign of the cross” on our persons, as a sign  of respect to our Creator. When hearing the sirens of an ambulance, fire truck or police car in our neighborhood; we offered a prayer for those in need of assistance. Myself, my friends and family, although living in a very tough neighborhood, were always compliant regarding the aforementioned instruction we had received during our childhood.

Through the years this humble, gentle and gracious way of life has been cast aside. Displaying the 10 Commandments in public gets you sued, fired or maybe even locked-up. A meditative moment of silence with your students in preparation for the day’s classroom activities, can lead you to the unemployment line. Maybe even “blackballed”, as a credentialed career in teaching is destroyed. Coaches evoking a moment of silence with their players for the safety of all participants during an athletic event; is absolutely forbidden. Recitation, or just requiring a student to stand during the “pledge of alliance” before a school day begins is treasonous and worthy of termination. Anyone suggesting otherwise is subject to punishment via reprimands and other disciplinary measures.

Back in the day, “child rearing” developed a positive connection with others. These tangential outcomes were experienced within many communities and neighborhoods surrounding my parish. Black, White, Brown, Yellow and Red individuals within the area I grew up, had a creative energy, flow, rhythm, charm, athleticism and pride; which served as “foundational building blocks” nurturing joy, genius and goodness within their distinct cultures. The structure and discipline developed because of participation in these adult/parent/grandparent driven activities during our formative years, never harmed anyone. In fact, these experiences built an awareness and sensitivity to the needs of others. It brought out our best and prepared us for whatever was to come.

People were not blind to the issues of racism, discrimination, bigotry and prejudice; we chose to combat these injustices through our own personal  decisions and action via the way we lived our lives and treated others.

Corrupt politicians and governments legislating morality and ethics, “really”.  Is that “moronic”; or is it an “oxymoronic”. Only “consciousness raising” and “awareness uplifting” techniques practiced by individuals within a society can bring about authentic and lasting positive change. Imposing one’s will through force and intimidation fuels resentment, division, conflict and unrest. As we know, problems are never solved that way.

The only mechanism and method for eradicating ignorance and human error, along with our mistaken beliefs and misunderstandings, are contained within the scientific principles of Self-Realization and Self-Actualization. If through our collective pain we’re driven to pursue and practice the fundamental laws and truths contained within said principles, we’ll know a new happiness and freedom that will create an “enlightened and blissful understanding”; no matter how far down the road we’ve fallen.

As my “life force” diminishes and passes on, I don’t want to spend my last conscious moments regretting an angry, hateful, judgmental and wasted life. Struggling with the knowledge of a pointless and worthless existence that lacked purpose and meaning.

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