Healing Self, Healing Society - 2014 Festival of Faiths

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Event Name: Healing Self, Healing Society - 2014 Festival of Faiths
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/12/2019
Transcript Version: 1

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trade movement which I'm I feel

a lot of it is is upper-middle class

luxury the ability to assuage our own

personal guilt and things like that but

I that snot why I would promote it

because I think that it's important to

take positions about these things in

terms of disenfranchised communities

underprivileged communities you know the

disparity which I was highlighting in

that picture of starving kids with these

completely overweight kids I mean one of

the problems that we have in this

country is that processed food is

incredibly cheap to buy and the reason

that the all processed food came out of

war that the Americans in World War two

I mean margarine came from Napoleon they

needed butter for these troops so we

tend to forget that processed food is

actually a direct result of war because

they needed to feed these armies as they

were moving and so in in in in World War

two they learned how to do this stuff to

a degree scientifically that they'd

never achieved before and and they could

keep long life shelf life and they

realize you know because this

military-industrial complex the same

people that are doing supplying that

during wartime are the people that are

selling you know the foods during

peacetime they realize that this is a

great way we don't have to worry about

perishables because it's they lovable

parents they lose a lot of money except

because when you take you know it's

amazing how many the reason it's so

expensive at Whole Foods is because they

lose a lot of that food and and this is

the problem and farmers know this so one

of the really important movements is

urban homesteading where people are

beginning to put gardens in there on

their rooftops african-american

communities in Detroit are beginning to

do this and it's really interesting

movement where they're bringing

food to to disenfranchised communities

and having some of the schools are doing

it this is really important so I think

Louisville it would be really useful to

bring some of these people in to show

them how to do we can grow our own food

and it actually is realistic people can

have gardens in World War two they had

what we're called Victory Gardens where

unlike these recent Wars let I encourage

you to go out and spend they used to

encourage you actually to save and

recycle World War two was a great year

of recycling people were recycling

everything and you know if you go to

third world countries people wear

sandals made out of used tires because

it's a really good heel a sole for the

for the the shoe and and so these are

the things where we need to get creative

in our communities and not you know so

many of our communities in the inner

cities they can go and get it's easier

to get liquor than it is to get food and

and it's much easier to get you can't

get vegetables in a lot of these

inner-city stores it's all processed

food they get corn out of a can and and

so that movement I think is a really

important movement that's starting to

take place

instead this ads brought to you by the

Center for interfaith relations up here

which has a program for building a box

gardens or urban gardens throughout

rural and we need to expand and children

love to do it they love to plant you can

get the kids involved in they get

connected to the earth you mentioned

earlier we're called the know Adam you

know in the Jewish and the Muslim

tradition and Adam is Adama you know

who's denying Arabic is the top soil and

and in our tradition the reason he was

called Adam and really it's the first

Adam had the male-female and then it

splits into the two of Adam and Eve so

the first Adam that the first creation

was was was the human being you know

which was and and but the the leader is

called top scholars because we're told

the problem Hamlet Pilate said I'm said

that God took white soil black soil

brown soil all the different color

the topsoil in the world and put them

into atoms so that all these colors

would be reflected in his creation from

all the soils of the earth we have the

same scans we probably borrowed from you

well you know look the Prophet Muhammad

you know people say that Islam a lot of

it's just from Judaism but the problem

Ahamed the Quran says you didn't make

this stuff up your you're not an

innovator from the message your being

the same message so much of it is in

Jewish tradition we know that and the

Jewish tradition is part of our

tradition so and there are many I mean

all my tears are filled with Midrash and

and you know the Gomorrah story it's all

in Islamic Jews they never shied away

from that and we had rabbis that became

Muslim there was interactions between

rabbis and and and Muslim scholars and

and so these are these are all this is

wisdom it's just jicama you know hook

nut oh yeah so this is this is this

belongs to everybody thank you again you

for putting this a very practical thing

and anyone's interested a great

organization called youth youth to

Louisville will help you build art yes

don't like art and if you do the

community center declare that that's

part of amazing how much food you can

get out of a very small yes over here I

want to thank you for what you said

about human trafficking is a 21st

century outrage an estimated 20 million

billion people are affected by it

I want to say the good news about it

just as a little bit of a commercial

there's an organization called soap SOA

P save our adolescents from prostitution

headquartered in Columbus Ohio I am part

of the group and we go before large

sporting events like the Super Bowl NCAA

Kentucky Derby world equestrians and we

meet in hotels all over the place to

provide literature photos and soap with

an 800 number to go in every hope

room in Louisville and Columbus in New

York and LA wherever we did it I

participated twice in Louisville we did

it before the truck show in Louisville

and 90% of the hotels accepted the

material the good news is that it's

working in lots of places before the

super during the Super Bowl in New

Jersey 16 teenage girls were rescued

because of soap and four hundred

volunteers covered New York in New

Jersey in Indianapolis Super Bowl two

teenage girls were rescued multiply that

over in Detroit the Auto Show girls

rescued in Columbus Ohio the Arnold

Schwarzenegger bodybuilding your'e girls

were rescued further point is its there

are groups working we need more people

involved well there's a worldwide war

against girls and women around the world

and also the reason why these are all

events that involve large numbers of men

that that's where they literally bring

them in and in cars and and these are

the places and there's something that

the Romans for people are familiar with

the Coliseum the prostitutes were always

bought at the Colosseum's and and people

would get very excited and go down and

abuse them but we're I think we're doing

such a poor job at educating our young

men and to honoring women and that's

something I have five boys and it's I

constantly bring that home to them never

dishonor a woman that that women that

they're their gentle beings they're

easily seduced and men know this about

women because women are trusting and and

and and and when a man tells her certain

things he has the keys to her heart very

often and too many wolves out there

really prey on on that knowledge and

there's books out there of how to seduce

women that are now bestsellers thank you

very much

it's a little hard for me to see this we

over yeah over here so I see these

slides and I hear these facts and

they're very disturbing of course and

they should be to my soul and so my

question is what kind of daily practice

can I do I do things with my deeds you

know I own a farm and I am trying to

help that part of the world but in my a

daily practice that you would suggest

that could help because I do believe in

intentions being able to actually help

these problems but I'm up for

suggestions okay well I first of all you

know I we have to honor our small

farmers because you know I'm fortunate

to be in Northern California with a slow

movement that slow food movement started

that we have local farmers markets that

we can go to on a regular basis so we

get all our foods from local growers I

would much rather support them than

support you know even though you know a

Whole Foods has some pretty enlightened

leadership there but I would still

rather support the local growers as much

as possible and I think that's something

really important so you know and people

you were talking earlier downstairs just

about you know this loopy feeling about

being connected to the land but the

truth is farmers suffering then see the

highest suicide rates in India are from

the small farmers they get them into

these you serious deaths and we had

people remember the 80s crises the

highest rates of suicide were among

small farmers we're losing our small

farmers and agribusiness is taking over

and this is what I'm talking about you

know these these you know the rulers of

darkness of this world you know a lot of

these people and there's good people in

that I'm not a Mackay I'm not in any way


I don't you know there's there's good

CEOs there's decent people working but

these are soul destroying institutions

that we've set up and and so I'm not in

any way I don't I'm not a revolutionary

in that I

don't believe and you know if we just

can kill the evil ruler suddenly

everything's going to you know be fine

it's not like that and there's good

people in Washington DC there's good

people in government there's really

amazing police and then there's people

that abuse these powers you know and

some of them you know and there are

really dark demonic people that we have

termed Psychopaths

and about one out 22 Americans is

considered to be psychopathic and there

are functional psychopathic people often

in CEO positions that don't have morals

I mean this is this is social science in

our culture I would recommend there's

several books on this one of them is

associate that next door a lot of people

think sociopaths the serial killer no

there are sociopaths that are surgeons

they're sociopaths that are CEOs and

they really don't they don't think like

other people they just don't feel

remorse about harming others or harming

the earth or whatever so in terms of a

practice I can't I want to advise you on


I think people you know we're living in

an age that enables us to experiment it

with religions this is in some ways

unprecedented in other ways

we've always had eclecticism and

interaction of traditions muslims and

jews lived together for centuries in

places like Morocco and Sarajevo and so

there's always been these and we know

that different traditions adopted

methods st. Francis was influenced by

the Sufis when he got back he adopted

some of those practices and certainly

you know the Muslims of India found the

Hindus doing certain things that they

thought were interesting so you'll find

a chakra a type of chakra understanding

in certain Indian Sufi badia clubs and

things like this so there's always been

that kind of eclecticism but I come out

of a spiritual tradition that really

says that it's good to take a serious

tradition and to practice it and and for

me personally there are certain things

that I have to do

day I think the only thing that I really

incorporated outside of of Milan

tradition is I've been practicing chi

gong for some time now and derived a lot

of benefit from it just physically

because I was having a lot of energy

problems but I think we really we need

to have time with ourselves alone where

we can just disengage and turn off all

these things I have a friend of mine

he's an imam in Washington DC so it has

a box in the end of in the front of his

house and when everybody comes in they

have to put the cell phones in the box

and they're not allowed to use any cell

phones inside the house and Jesus

Sudanese man and I thought that was

really an excellent practice I think a

lot of us need to disengage from from

the madness of these constantly being

you know texting and getting called we

don't have to answer the phone every

time it ring you know you really don't

now you're really something

revolutionary huh it's true okay before

you do that though I was going to do

this as an ad anyway my best suggestion

would be come tonight at 7 o'clock

because from 7:00 to 9:00 Wendell Berry

is going to be here with Gary Snyder and

Jack shoemaker and Wendell is a

phenomenal community resource for those

of you who have the opportunity you know

exactly what I'm saying because you may

not come tonight at 7:00

Wendell did I'd say the kind of

intention that you're speaking of for my

entire congregation when he came to

speak and we established the farm works

a farmers market that comes to Temple

Mondays and Thursdays are local farmers

and what he was saying was that we've

begun to look at food he'll say this

better tonight I hope but in a sentence

we come to look at food as a commodity

and we lose the nature of the

relationship you're feeding people okay

that is gift okay and when you receive

the food from the people

grew it you create something different

than going to a market and buying it

you're recognizing that the people who

you feed and we're recognizing who feeds

us and we create in that community and I

think what you're doing is that

intentions honestly but come tonight it

will be wonderful okay now a question

there are we yeah thank you I have a

question regarding I think is a

challenge that we face in the US and

it's very pervasive and that we are we

have a sense of entitlement that is is

much stronger than a lot of places you

find in the world and what would be your

response in sort of a spiritual sense to

that sense of entitlement that I really

don't have to do anything to change

because I have earned what I have earned

and I've worked hard for that yeah that

was one of mine too yeah the you know

when when you go to other put like I was

just in West Africa I was in Senegal and

in Mauritania and you know I think it's

really important for us to to get our

kids over to places to do work in in

other communities and places to see the

reality I'll give you an example I had I

had a friend of mine I teach a course at

a junior college nearby with a friend

and and and she was having trouble

controlling this class because they were

just you know they're college kids

behaving like high school kids so I

suggested that she bring in a friend of

mine who was a leading member of one of

the dominant African American gangs in

LA went to prison for murder spent

several years in prison and he converted

transformed his life in prison it came

out he's actually a teacher now so I

suggested that she bring him into the

class and she did and she just said the

transformation these students was

amazing with him telling his story and

and you know I I just I tell them

this junior-college if you were in Kabul

in Afghanistan this would be the Harvard

of Afghanistan you know and we have

people in a lot of countries that

literally commit suicide because their

scores are too low to get into the

colleges you know so we just it's

amazing the opportunities if you look at

when people come here from places like

African countries the first thing they

do is an enroll in junior colleges you

know it's just so amazing for them to be

able to get an education that doesn't

cost very much and so I think part of it

is really trying to inculcate this early

on narcissism was you know just it was I

think it was designated in the 1970s in

that famous book the culture of

narcissism you know he saw something

that nobody was seeing at the time how

narcissistic our culture was coming I

think the selfie is just such an

indicative aspect of our of our

civilization this idea of just taking

your own picture you know I've never

I've never carried a camera I've never

taken I don't have any pictures of

myself and I've been all over the world

I've been in that you know I met the

Pope you know and and had a picture with

the Pope and you know I just never had

that urge to have these pictures you

know my last because some people stand

us things and she wants to put a lot of

I said I don't want them on the wall you

know I don't want to do that and and I

know I don't get that thing about

pictures you know like I for me this is

where I take my pictures I and I try to

be present with people and remember them

as best I can

and I learned this from the Bedouin

because what really struck me about the

Bedouin that I lived with is they were

so present

and I would need a better one that I've

met 10 years before he would remember

what we talked about the conversation we

had and and they don't take pictures

because they know and so this whole

obsession with images that the New York

Times recently reported that the average

American seems more images in one day

than a 19th century English person saw

in his entire lifetime and these images

are flooding our hearts were losing that

just that space you know the imageless

space you know one of the things when

trade Jim went into the holiest of

holies the thing that really disturbed

him was there was nothing in there you

know any wanted the Jews to explain like

where's your idols where's your images

it's an empty place and and and and so

that emptiness we have to have that

emptiness to be able to to contemplate

and I would recommend leading Neil

postman's incredible book amusing

ourselves to death and that second

chapter about why the Decalogue would

have prohibited images because he argues

that if you want people to understand

abstractions you have to watch out for

the images that you give them and God

wants us to know something a concept

that is so abstract and and this is why

image based cultures become debased very

quickly so I really think the images are

harming us immensely the the

pornographic images that are going into

the minds of these young kids it's

really terrifying because they can't get

these things out they won't be able to

get those images out of the mountain I

know this from I have people that have

converted to Islam or have these

problems and they've told me when they

just when they open their prayer images

start flooding they're there and they

want to get rid of them so it's really

difficult spiritually it can be done

with a lot of work but you have to be

careful what you put into your heart

and I once I was with a Bedouin we've

gone from the desert to the walk shop

and there was a TV in the room and it

was on and he was looking the other way

and his man in his 30s and he was a

student of knowledge and he was looking

the other way and I was with a Libyan

Abdul Razak Mokhtar he's the ambassador

in Turkey now for Libya but he asked him

have you ever seen television he said no

he said don't you want to look at it and

he said I heard that it has foul things

on it I don't want to let it into my

heart and you know that level of being

is just where are those people yeah it's

very briefly the Jewish community I

would echo this part about how important

travel can be and meeting people from

other cultures and places we have the

commitment it's called birthright to

send all of our children's in the Land

of Israel and we really press this and

we make it literally affordable to the

point of practically free to get every

one of our kids to go to Israel they

need Israeli kids you know who also have

cell phones and text they text in Hebrew

Devi I think that's really cool but what

they also find out is if these kids go

into the army after high school all okay

and they serve their country and these

kids have an expectation that they

probably aren't going to be able to go

to college necessarily because not

everybody gets to go to college because

there's just not enough slots so you

would have to work hard if you want to

do that and they'll grow up in a world

where they're not able to afford a home

and they'll be very lucky but probably

not have a car and you know and they're

there their sense of commitment to their

country is something that's very


and when these kids come and visit our

economic titled you earn things every

day you know and and that the things

that you choose to earn are the things

that really matter

I mean maybe are not those material

things maybe they're things like respect

maybe the things like you know a future

in the fan

things like that okay I would like to

continue with questions but we need to

stop now because we have some other

things to finish the first which is the

poetry and do you have it yeah I do okay

um explain this was a there were several

poems and then they were they narrowed

them down to eight and then I was given

the unfortunate task of determining

which one should be given let me read

the up the introduction to this and then

okay it's not explained this is a poetry

of the sacred contest that the center

performed as part of this year's

festival the poetry the safety sacred

context is run annually to the center

for innovation Institute for

contemporary practice poetry can be

thought as the language of the soul and

this contest encourages poets that

awaken their reader to the

meaningfulness and beauty of life people

entered this contest from 34 different

states in four different countries from

these entries a winning poem and three

honorable mentions were chosen and

received both monetary prizes must be

published in parabola magazine in the

winter issue of 2014 the poems were then

judged by hamsa which he hated having to

do and we've selected one which uml read

so you know just to preface this I

really they were all very interesting

poems this one was the one that hit me

the most just in terms of my talk and

and what I think the festival face is is

about so it's called what worship is

it's by Red Hawk from Arizona I don't

think that he apparently he doesn't have

internet access which I thought was

great but the other poems I mean the

filter list of Mont sainte-victoire was

really I really like that Prairie hours

and him too morning were the runners-up

and they were all good and the other

ones were good - they were more

depressing so but this one I thought

really captured something from me what

worship is by Red Hawk from Arizona at

dusk cousin John is driving home when a

rabbit darts in front of his car and his

throne tumbling and spinning into the

tall grass beyond the shoulder now here

is where John emerges from the pack of

ordinary brutish humans and assumes a

form we barely know he stops the car

pulls off to see what harm he has done I

don't know anyone else who would have

stopped he finds the rabbit broken and

thrashing not yet dead in the tall grass

goes to his trunk for a hammer returns

and finishes what chance started then

with the claw part he did the shallow

hole and puts the body in returns drives

home heavy with sorrow feeling remorse

having performed his humble sacrament to

make right what has gone wrong in us we

have forgotten who we are and what we

must do

so just a few other sort of follow-up

things will be concluding now but I'm so

Youssef will be in the foyer we had a

long conversation about the

pronunciation of that word there'll be a

book signing there as well as a

reception with like food and drink and

we want to invite all of you to join us

there again

Wendell Barry Gary Snyder and Jack

shoemaker this evening at 7 and 9 is a

program I'm not going to miss and really

shouldn't just gonna be fantastic and we

will conclude as we are in all these

sessions with a moment of silence and I

encourage you in silence to try to take

in some of what Hamza has shared with us

and think in the ways that many of your

questions did but how we can take these

ideas and make them into spirit in

ourselves and in practice in our lives



thank you for joining us