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Share International magazine March 2005

Share Internaional magazineThis is an abridged version of
Share International magazine.
Through these electronic files, the magazine Share International makes available a compilation of its contents.
Permission is granted to reproduce these articles in magazine, newspaper or newsletter format, provided that credit is given to Share International and clippings are sent to: PO Box 41877, 1009 DB Amsterdam, Holland. Copyright (c) 2003 Share International. All rights reserved.

Master's article

Maitreya's task

by the Master —, through Benjamin Creme

It is becoming ever clearer that the momentum of change is growing steadily throughout the world. Event follows so quickly on event that few can discern the logic of the sequence by which the new supplants the old. We, your Elder Brothers, recognize the inevitability of this process and watch it with satisfaction, knowing, as We do, that all is moving towards the more perfect expression of the Plan.
For men, however, this is a time of testing and trouble as they seek to understand and cope with the effects of their actions. The logic of happenings escapes them and makes them doubt the divinity in which they place their trust. Thus, for men, has it always been, as they struggle blindly to enforce their will or to escape the consequence of their endeavours.

As we move from age to age, such periods of tension and indecision are repeated again and again. Each new age brings into the world new and unfamiliar forces which gradually impose themselves on men and invoke response. Thus it is today, as men search dimly for the new direction which the new age energies demand of them. Some there are who sense the way and seek to educate their brothers in the required action. Many, though, are afraid of change and see only an impending chaos and breakdown if the ‘radicals’ have their way.
Into this divided world has come the Christ. His is the task to reconcile these disparate groups and to bring order out of the present confusion and tumult. That His is not an easy task should be apparent to all. That the gulf between the groups is vast and entrenched is equally clear. How, then, must He work to bridge the chasm between the old and fearful and the burgeoning new? How, too, can He counter the deep materialism which is the hallmark of the present time? How deal with the intolerance of the religious groups and help them to experience unity?

Presenting Himself as a man among men, Maitreya will make no claims, demand no allegiance. Simple and direct will be His approach, moderate and calm His manner. His clarity of mind will arrest attention. His wisdom will overcome men’s fears. His sincerity of utterance will melt men’s hearts and remove the burden of hate and greed. Thus will men experience a new appearance of divinity, one which includes them in its manifestation, and sees no distance or separation.
As the Embodiment and Agent of cosmic power and love, Maitreya will open the hearts of all who can respond, and, turning men from the fear and division of the past, ready them for the glory of the future.
(Read more articles by the Master)

Questions & Answers

Q. I read a message from Maitreya on your website; in which Maitreya says He is coming so soon that it “will surprise indeed”. (1) Does this mean that all conditions for His public work have been met? (2) Is Maitreya referring to a major interview when He says this?
A. (1) Nearly. (2) Not necessarily major.

Q. Watching George Bush’s recent State of the Union speech I was amazed at some of the things he said which seemed like blatant lies or a completely deluded sense of what his administration are doing; for example their so-called desire to create peace in the world, which the US government are clearly not doing. I was also amazed at all the people jumping up and down to applaud him. It gave me chills and reminded me of footage of the Nazi rallies in Germany. Does Bush actually believe his words or is it all a huge exercise in manipulation?
A. Mr Bush is working under the illusion that he is ‘guided’ by God and that therefore the idealistic picture that he presents of his government’s intentions is noble and factual, no matter how far that may be from reality.
He does not write his speeches, however, and there are those in his entourage who do, and who have a cynical and calculated aim to manipulate American public opinion to accept government policy.
Before and during the war, Dr Goebbels in Germany used the same technique of lies. He even said that the bigger the lie, repeated often enough, the more it would be believed. “Germany has no more territorial ambitions”, repeated endlessly, was followed time after time by invasion of its neighbours.

Q. (1) Do you think it’s true to say that since the Tsunami disaster the atmosphere in the world has changed? It feels, to me, as if the world in general has turned a corner or become more serious and realistic about making necessary changes. (2) Were people shocked into a new realism and practicality?
A. (1) Yes. (2) Yes, the energies of Maitreya are affecting humanity more and more.

Q. Do you think the troops — British and US — should be withdrawn from Iraq now that the elections have been held?
A. If they were withdrawn now, having created chaos and mayhem, they would leave greater chaos behind.

Q. What is your opinion of the so-called elections in Iraq?
A. America is attempting to impose a representative democratic system on Iraq, but how can the people of Iraq elect representatives when there has been no discussion of policies and aspirations, no opportunity to meet and question candidates, when they are asked to vote for unknown people with or without policies or ideas? It is a farce. A sad farce when 59 per cent of those who had the opportunity, at least, to vote set such store by this opportunity.

Q. We have always had “people power” — there’s nothing new in it. Share International presents the idea as if it were new and revolutionary. Why?
A. Historically, apart from great revolutionary movements like the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions, the ‘voice of the people’, as presented by Share International today, has been very muted indeed. Throughout history, ‘the people’ have watched, and often suffered, the succession of invasions, pillages and cruelties meted out by conquering individuals with their armies of conquest. Today, a new phenomenon has appeared. The people everywhere have sensed their collective power and are demanding a free and just world as theirs by right of being members of the one humanity. This, I submit, is altogether new, and will manifest as a world public opinion with a voice so powerful and united that no government can stand against it. As one of the Masters has put it: “The voice of the people is the voice of wisdom.”

Q. Since the Tsunami disaster the number of doom and gloom predictions relating to floods and more watery destruction have increased. (1) Is there any truth in these forecasts, visions or dreams? (2) Is it true that large parts of countries like the Netherlands are due to be flooded? (3) Children are reported to be “seeing” or “dreaming” such scenarios. Is this possibly a traumatized reaction to the horrific television images that they must have seen since late December 2004?
A. (1) No. (2) No. (3) Yes.

(More questions and answers)

Letters to the editor

Over a number of years, some of the Masters, in particular Maitreya and the Master Jesus, have appeared, in different guises, to large numbers of people around the world. They also appear at Benjamin Creme's lectures and meditations, giving people in the audience the opportunity to intuitively recognise Them. Some people recount their experiences to Share International magazine. If the encounters are authenticated by Benjamin Creme's Master, the letters are published. These experiences are given to inspire, to guide or teach, often to heal and uplift. Very often, too, the Masters draw attention to, or comment on, in an amusing way, some fixed intolerance (for example against smoking or drinking). Many times They act as saving 'angels' in accidents, during wartime, earthquakes and other disasters. The following letters, previously published in Share International magazine, are examples of this means of communication by the Masters.

Wise philosophy

Dear Editor,
One afternoon in Spring 2001 I took a train and sat in a compartment which was, unusually, completely empty. A man got in and sat in the seat opposite, across the aisle. I noticed him because he was shabbily dressed, had a worn-out bag and a wrinkled face, but his eyes were very lively. I was feeling rather sombre and not very cheerful. He looked at me and said: “Life is not so hard, madam. Life is easy. I am a happy man.” I looked at him. He didn’t give the impression of someone with an easy life, a homeless, middle-aged man. I said: “Well, then tell me: how do you do it?” “Ah,” he said laughing a bit mockingly at me. “That’s what everybody asks me. How do you do it? Well, I will tell you something. You create your own problems.” I saw some truth in this and actually began cheering up at the very humorous nature of this encounter. Then the conductor came in and asked the man for his ticket, which he couldn’t produce. I was very relieved to see that the conductor was not harsh on him for not having a ticket. He was asked to leave the train at the next station. The man stood up, looked the conductor — a timid young Dutchman — in the eyes and asked him bluntly: “Tell me, what is more important in life, love or sex?” The young man, embarrassed, asked if he could think it over for a while. “Well, love, of course,” said the old man laughing. Then he got off the train after greeting me very politely. I saw him walk across the platform with his shabby clothes and bags and disappear among the crowd. This peculiar encounter left me puzzled wondering whether this man had been there at that very moment for any purpose at all. Who was this man?
R.B., Utrecht, the Netherlands.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was Maitreya.)

Good vibrations

Dear Editor,
In the summer of 2004 I was having a particularly hard time with my personality, being torn between, as far as I know, negative past karmic tendencies and a desire to do the right thing. I put my hand on the photograph of Maitreya’s ‘hand’ and said a prayer asking for help. Suddenly energy travelled down my hand from the photograph into my heart. Since then things have improved.
On another occasion in the summer, the photograph of the ‘hand’, which I had stuck to my closet door so I could see it before I went to sleep, emanated light while I was looking at it and thinking good thoughts.
Since these times I have tried to concentrate more on my good nature, ‘Godly’ qualities, rather than the darker elements of my past, and have been reading a Course in Miracles with increasing interest.
Were these the blessings of Maitreya?
B.B., Markham, Ontario, Canada.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that these were, indeed, blessings from Maitreya.)

In your own words

Dear Editor,
For Mr Creme’s lecture in Los Angeles in July 2004, I volunteered to help on the book table. Since it was the first time I had done this, I was a bit nervous and excited. People started to arrive and look through the books and materials offered. Some asked questions and we answered as best we could.
As the time for the lecture got nearer, two young women approached the table, one with blonde hair and one a brunette. The blonde-haired lady seemed to be the spokeswoman for the two. She said to me: “We just walked in off the street and don’t know anything.” The dark-haired lady said: “Yep, we don’t know anything about anything.” The blonde said: “Who would you say this Maitreya is?” I replied he was an Avatar, a very high spiritual being, who had come to the world at this time to help humanity, the spiritual Master of all Masters. She then said: “What can you tell me to convince me to go in and listen to Mr Creme?” Being rather busy now making sales and giving change, but mostly realizing I was afraid of not doing a good job of explaining, I said: “If you go over to that first table, there are many pamphlets full of information and if you ask that lady over there,” (I pointed to a co-worker), “she is wonderful at explaining everything, she can tell you much better than I.” “Well,” she said, “Aren’t you with this group?” I answered: “Oh yes, I have been part of this group for many years, but I may not be able to explain to you as well as she can.” I did not want to be responsible for them possibly walking away. I was then handed a $20 bill and asked to deduct the sale. As I looked down for just a moment, I heard the blonde lady say slowly and deliberately: “Noooooo, I want to hear it from you.” Something in the way she said it seemed like a command. My eyes widened and I went into panic mode. I knew I had to respond. I cannot honestly recall exactly what I said. I talked about sharing, service, compassion, being one, and only heaven knows what else. She was looking at me intently but encouragingly and when I finished she said very slowly and sweetly: “You did very well. You’ve convinced us. We’re going in.” I felt she had been very kind. I thanked Maitreya silently and proceeded to work the table as people were now being asked to go in and be seated. I did not notice where the two ladies went and since there were many people, my attention shifted to Mr Creme and I proceeded to listen to the lecture. I just forgot about them.
However, I did not see them again when the lecture was over. On the way home I kept playing the scene with the two women over and over in my mind and I could hear her saying: “Noooooo, I want to hear it from you,” and feeling my agitation all over again. I thought: “This is a bit unusual as most people would have gone over to the first table and spoken with the lady I pointed out.”
Will you please tell me if these two ladies were indeed two ladies who just happened to walk in off the street? I felt I was being tested or encouraged in some way.
M.C., Los Angeles, California, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the blonde ‘lady’ was Maitreya. The ‘brunette’ was the Master Jesus.)

Common language

Dear Editor,
I went with a friend Ley to New York in July 2004 to attend the talk by Benjamin Creme and the public Transmission Meditation. Since Ley is from Brazil we went to have lunch on Sunday 25 July at a Brazilian restaurant. While walking back to the hotel after lunch we met two older gentlemen walking towards us on the sidewalk. One of them was wearing a blue suit and hat and the other was wearing brown slacks and a plaid shirt and a casual golf hat.
I was charmed by the sight of the men and heard that they were talking in Portuguese. I said to my friend: “Say hello to these men in Portuguese.” The men turned around and we greeted each other. The man in the blue suit asked: “Do you speak Spanish or Portuguese?” We told them that I speak Spanish and my friend speaks Portuguese. The man in the blue suit asked my friend where she was from and she told him Rio de Janiero. He asked her: “What is the difference between here (New York) and Rio?” She replied that “it depends because Rio has some things that you can’t find in New York and New York has some things that you can’t find in Rio.” The man in the blue suit said: “I will tell you the difference. If we were walking in Rio right now, you would know other people. Here you don’t know anyone and if you don’t know anybody you are nobody.”
We asked the man in the brown slacks what languages he spoke and he said: “I only speak English.” The man in the blue suit immediately said to him: “Remember, you also speak Hebrew.” The man in the brown slacks said: “Oh yes I also speak Hebrew, but actually I speak the most important language in the world — the language of love.”
I asked the man in the blue suit what languages he spoke and he said with a laugh: “I speak so many languages, they get all mixed up in my mind.”
We parted and watched as the men entered a deli nearby. As we walked past we saw that they were sitting at a table talking with a third gentleman who looked a lot like Benjamin Creme. This man had a black cap on. Later on in the evening at the Transmission Meditation, Benjamin Creme arrived wearing an identical black cap.
All during this encounter Ley and I were thinking that these two gentlemen could very well be the Lord Maitreya and the Master Jesus. I humbly submit this letter for verification by Benjamin Creme’s Master.
E.T., Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man in the plaid shirt and golf hat was Maitreya. The man in the blue suit was the Master Jesus. The third man in the deli was a disciple imitating Benjamin Creme.)

Energy boost

Dear Editor,
On 27 December 2004 I attended a coffee house gathering of the Dallas Interfaith Spirituality group. During the latter part of the discussion (as to what the relationship is between religion and spirituality, and how they affect the social fabric), there was a wonderful energy which came over all of the group. There were three people from Japan at the table and their interpreter said they were feeling much love and warmth. The man next to me was so moved that he could hardly speak. I too felt the wonderful love energy.
I wonder if you could tell me if that was a blessing and from whom?
B.W., Dallas, Texas, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that it was indeed a blessing, from Maitreya.)

Signs of the time

Typhoon miracle

Four people — Maria Tamares, 50, her 3-year-old grandchild, and two 14-year-old boys — were rescued on 9 December 2004 having survived 10 days buried beneath the rubble of a chapel in Real, the Philippines. The area had been hit by a typhoon and three tropical storms.
Rescuers had given up hope of finding survivors after three days’ digging had produced only bodies, but as they began the process of clearing debris they heard faint cries. “It was God who saved us,” Mrs Tamares said. “I could not explain where we got our strength to last for days without food.” She said they survived by drinking any kind of liquid that dripped through the rubble. Her grandchild told her: “Don’t worry, grandma, we will come out of this alive.”
(Source: The Independent, UK)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that they were saved by the Master Jesus.)

Florida Keys rescue

On 11 December 2004, 80-year-old Cuban-born lawyer Ignacio Siberio took his boat out 12 miles off the Florida Keys on a fishing trip. However, while he was free-diving for snapper and grouper beneath the surface, his boat dragged anchor in strong winds, and drifted away on the Gulf Stream currents. Exhausted by his attempts to swim after it, he “encountered one small buoy” and clung to it all night, his flippers grazed by large predators (shark or barracuda) swimming beneath him. Eventually he let go and set off to swim to shore, 12 miles away. When found by rescuers he had been in the freezing Atlantic water for 20 hours, and swimming for five hours, but was suffering only from mild hypothermia.
The number painted on the buoy — 731 — was the same as Mr Siberio’s birthday, July 31, which he thought was providential.
(Source: The Guardian, UK)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that he was saved by the Master Jesus.)

Turin Shroud older than previously believed

The Shroud of Turin is much older than indicated by radiocarbon dating carried out in the 1980s, according to a new study. Raymond Rogers, a chemist who was on a 1978 team allowed to study small pieces of the cloth, says his new research and chemical tests show the material used in the 1988 radiocarbon analysis was cut from a medieval patch woven into the shroud to repair fire damage. This material was responsible for an invalid date being assigned to the shroud, according to Rogers. "The radiocarbon sample has completely different chemical properties than the main part of the shroud relic," he said.
In the study, Rogers analysed and compared the sample used in the 1988 tests with other samples from the cloth. His new analysis revealed the presence of a chemical called vanillin in the radiocarbon sample and the medieval patch, but not the rest of the shroud. Vanillin, present in linen from the flax fibres used to weave it, slowly disappears from the fibres over time at a calculable rate, Rogers said. Judging by those calculations, a medieval-age cloth should have had 37 per cent of its vanillin left. But there was virtually no vanillin left in the shroud sample Rogers analysed, leading the chemist to calculate it was between 1,500 and 3,000 years old — far older than the earlier radiocarbon testing had indicated. (Source: BBC News, Associated Press)

2004 Transmission meditation conference keynote talk - part two

Part Two of the edited Question and Answer sessions with Benjamin Creme from the Transmission Meditation Conferences held at San Francisco, USA, in August 2004 and in the Netherlands in September 2004. The Keynote Talk plus Part One of the Questions and Answer sessions appeared in Share International January/February 2005.

Q. Aren’t there some other disciples who could be working as you do to make known the Christ’s presence? (Europe)
A. There are five people who you might have thought would be key people in the 4,000 people involved in this work around the world: one in New York, me in London, one in Geneva, one in Darjeeling, one in Tokyo, all chosen to be the first presenters. Around them would gather more, so that it would become a worldwide happening. This information would be coming from five points across the world from New York to Tokyo, a brilliant plan, except that the one in New York does not believe. He has been to my lectures several times but does not believe the story. I am the one in London. The one in Geneva, like the one in New York, does not believe the story. They are both Christian mystics, influenced by people like Steiner who died before the plan that it would be the Christ Himself was finalized. Steiner was adamant that the Christ could not return in a physical body and thought that when the Christ Principle awakened sufficiently in the hearts of men, then we could say the Christ is in the world. This is only one aspect of the Reappearance of the Christ. People who follow Steiner have closed their minds to the very possibility of the Reappearance of the Christ as a physical man in the world, quite apart from all the 40 or so Masters Who are likewise coming. They have done a disservice to the event.

The man in New York does not believe it; the man in Geneva does not believe it; the man in Darjeeling is still asleep; and the one in Tokyo is a woman who believes she is Maitreya, so they are not doing a very good job. This was not the fault of Hierarchy, because They simply present the opportunity to serve. It is up to the disciple to be aware enough of the implications of such a story. The Masters do not tell you a story which They know is not going to prove to be true.
We have to make it happen. We have to ‘make the noise’ in the world that makes people understand that this is happening and so create the climate of hope, of expectancy for it to happen, and so raise the hope of humanity, who are desperate. They have to have hope for the future, and nothing so gives them hope as the thought of the Reappearance of the Christ or the Imam Mahdi or Maitreya Buddha or Krishna. It raises their spirits and alleviates their anxiety and tension.

Humanity is ready for Maitreya

Q. Who are the 1.5 billion people who are ready to accept Maitreya's ideas? Are you referring to the poorest of the poor? (US)
A. I am referring to everybody. Maitreya said a long time ago, in Agni Yoga: “There was a time when 10 true men could save the world. Then came a time when 10,000 was not enough. I shall call on 1 billion." Five or six years ago, I asked my Master: “Has Maitreya got the billion yet?” He said: “1.5.” That is the 1.5, and that was a few years ago. So it is 1.5, plus several million since.


Q. You have talked about leaders in various fields who have had contact with Maitreya and the Masters and have been prepared by Him. Why is their work not more evident in the present situation? (Europe)
A. I wonder if that is true. How evident would you expect it to be? What is the area of your research? I do not know what you expect. There are people all over the world who know, like we know, that Maitreya is in the world and who know why He is here. They may not know all the esoteric background to His coming, but they know that a great Teacher is in the world and He could be, from their point of view, the Christ. They know He has very explicit ideas about the need for humanity to change, and in what direction, and that they can be of service in influencing the direction of that change. They know that, but they are not going to write it in the newspapers. They are not necessarily in France or Germany or Holland. They might be in South America; in fact they are in South America. They might be in China; they are in China and Russia.

We in Europe tend to think that everything of any importance happens in Europe just as if you are American you think America is where it all happens. Well, it does not, of course. Some things — some of the worst things, some of the good things — do happen in America and Europe, but much that is of value to humanity, and the kind of thing which you suggest is not evident, is actually becoming more and more evident at a higher and higher level in some countries in South America, in China, in Russia. There is affirmation in all these fields for change, not the old style Communistic revolutionary leader but a new type of left-wing, committed-to-the-people democratic leader coming to the fore in several states in South America and elsewhere in the world. That is a healthier way to go than the old, now dying, oligarchy of the Soviet groupings, both east and west. Democracy is a reality and is the preferred mode of social life by the Masters.

They do not work exactly as a democracy. Hierarchy, as the name suggests, is a hierarchy. They quite openly accept that, for example, Maitreya knows more than the Masters because He is more evolved, older, and has an awareness of aspects of cosmos which His immediate disciples do not have, even if They are sixth-degree initiates. It is a hierarchy, and They take it for granted that anyone more evolved will have a wider and more profound area of knowledge and wisdom, by the very nature of consciousness. However, They do work democratically in so far as each Master takes on a certain body of work and from His own consciousness makes that effective in the world. He is responsible for His own section of the work or teachings and has the democratic right to put forward His views at the collective Hierarchical meetings where all ideas are discussed and appraised.

We find it difficult to accept a hierarchical view of life, to accept differences in people. Countries like Holland, Sweden and Norway, for example, which are very democratic, find really distasteful the idea that there is a Hierarchy, that there are people Who are Masters. They always think that the Masters tell us what to do. As I have been at pains to say over the years, the Masters are not here to tell us what to do at all. The Masters will only advise and teach in the sense of revealing the results of actions. If we do this action, so and so will inevitably result, and if we do that action, then something quite different, probably preferable, will result. Then They leave the choice to us. If we are intelligent we take Their advice. They illuminate the results of the various actions which we can take. That is an extraordinary bonus to decision making — if you have a Master, a Teacher, a Guide Who tells you that if you do this then such and such will come out of it, or if you do that then another thing entirely will come out of it, then you can see which way you want to go. It is what you want; you have free will. I cannot over-emphasize that fact.
We really do not understand what free will is. We have an understanding of it in rather a superficial way, but we really do not understand how profound a quality free will is and why it is so impossible for the Masters to infringe our free will. Free will is the very element of our nature which makes evolution possible. Without free will we would not evolve. The Masters are in charge of the Plan of Evolution so They are involved with evolution, and human evolution is part of it. If They were to infringe our free will, which is fundamental to being able to evolve at all, They would put a stop to Their own actions and put a stop to all evolution of humanity — so it will never happen. We must become aware of how important that free will is and not see it as something we hold on to even when we know we are doing the wrong thing.

Someone comes along, a teacher for example, somebody who knows the answers and has been over the same ground and so knows that if you do this, then that will happen, and tells you so. If you take it as some infringement of your precious free will, then you are not going to benefit from that quality.
I know people who will not take the fact of the Masters’ presence in the world even when They are acting openly. They will not take Hierarchical guidance because they are democrats and they will not take any kind of hierarchical supervision if they feel it as supervision over their right to be themselves and their right to be democratic. It is an obsession with democracy. They have brought democracy, rightly, to a very high level of importance in our social life and then they have deified it. They have made it an ideology which puts a barrier around themselves, so they cannot grow. They cannot accept anything higher than their democracy.

They are only men and woman and they are limited, as all men and women are, by their point in evolution. I do not know what the average point in evolution is of the governing, intelligent, politicians in the world. I would say it is something like 1.4 or 1.35. It is not enough. They are functioning astrally; they are not mentally polarized. They cannot make decisions objectively and so they make a mess of the world.
The people whom Maitreya and the Masters have been training, you will find, will be 1.5 or higher, probably even a few second-degree initiates, working from a higher level. They can see more objectively. They might still be fanatics and might still be sunk in their own particular ideology, but they will have a greater sense of the whole. They will have greater tolerance in the things that matter even if they are Christian fanatics or Muslim fanatics or whatever.

Q. The world is waiting for the soul of America to manifest. Is this manifestation to come exclusively through the initiates in America or from the masses in the near future? (US)
A. It comes through the initiates. The soul of a country always demonstrates through the initiates of that country. From the masses comes the personality expression. The personality expression of America is the 6th ray of Abstract Idealism or Devotion. Americans are indeed devoted to their own ideals. The ideal of freedom is probably the biggest ideal, at least the one that we hear of most. You do not hear about justice very much because the idea of justice does not colour the consciousness of the masses of America.

America has elevated the concept of freedom to a degree which, to my mind, takes it BEYOND freedom.. It is freedom to do what you like, under any conditions, with no restrictions. If you scratch an ordinary American, you see this powerful 6th ray, ready to brush aside all hindrances to get his own way. To the person, it is not a wrong way, but his own ideal way, and that is freedom.
The US President said that US freedom was being threatened by a little state called Iraq. It had no weapons of mass destruction. How could Iraq threaten America? The whole thing is absurd. I cannot understand how so many Americans fall for their government's claim that somehow or other, given that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction, it was a threat to America. It was never a threat to America. Nothing could persuade me that Iraq was a threat to America. It could be a threat to Kuwait, a threat to the Kurds certainly, a threat to Iran, perhaps, all over again, although I doubt it. Iraq could be a threat to Syria if it wanted to be. Syria is probably the only country that Iraq would really be a threat to, and it borders Iraq so it would be very easy. Syria has no weapons of mass destruction to speak of. Believing that Iraq was a threat to America is believing in a nonsense. For Mr Blair to persuade the British people and about one-third of his own party that Britain was threatened by Iraq is again a complete, utter nonsense. It is just not true.

Freedom has been elevated to a position where it is no longer freedom that you are talking about. Freedom is one of the imperative human needs. Without freedom, there is no real life. It is a great divine quality, but there is also justice. There cannot be freedom without justice, or justice without freedom.
The American ‘myth’ of freedom is based on the fact that the masses of Americans believe in what they call freedom, but obviously do not believe in justice. I have found that in the American mind they equate justice with the legal system. You are very concerned about legality. The legal system is very developed in America. Some of it seems very odd to me, some of it very advanced. But it has nothing to do with justice except legal justice. Justice is something else. Justice is to do with right relationship, just as freedom is to do with right relationship. You cannot have one without the other.
The masses of people making up the personality of America contrive somehow to see freedom as the overriding necessity for all peoples, and justice to be so far behind as to almost not be there. You have 275 million people in this country of whom some 44 million do not have any healthcare. This is unbelievable. That is a huge proportion of the population who cannot afford to go to the doctor, who cannot afford false teeth or dentistry if they need it, who are afraid to get ill because they have to take time off work and are not going to be paid for it. It is an abomination.

That is why, among Maitreya's priorities, He has stated: enough food, shelter, healthcare and education. These are the essentials for all peoples as a matter of course, as a human right. That is also in the United Nations Charter, which was largely written by President F.D. Roosevelt. You know about this and yet there is no emphasis in American thought on the concept of justice. They know what equality means, and they do not like it. They call it communism, socialism.
Maitreya says that no nation can work on one wheel. If you see a nation as a cart, it must have two wheels; otherwise it will not go. If one wheel alone is capitalism, it will not move. If one wheel alone is socialism, it will not move. The only thing that will make the cart, that is your political/economic structure, work properly is to have the best of socialism and the best of capitalism. The Masters advise 70 per cent socialism to 30 per cent capitalism as the best proportion.

Tikkun: healing and transforming the world

Interview with Rabbi Michael Lerner
by Monte Leach

Rabbi Michael Lerner is founding editor of Tikkun magazine; author of numerous books, including The Politics of Meaning and Healing Israel/Palestine; and executive director of the grassroots group the Tikkun Community.
Lerner describes the Tikkun Community this way: “We are a community of people from many faiths and traditions, called together by Tikkun magazine and its vision of healing and transforming our world. We include in this call both the outer transformation needed to achieve social justice, ecological sanity, and world peace, and the inner healing needed to foster loving relationships, a generous attitude toward the world and toward others unimpeded by the distortions of our egos, a habit of generosity and trust, and the ability to respond to the grandeur of creation with awe, wonder and radical amazement. We are guided in our work by our belief in the principle of solidarity.”
Monte Leach interviewed Rabbi Lerner for Share International.

Share International: Would you talk about the focus of your work with the Tikkun Community?
Michael Lerner: We believe that the healing and transformation of the world has to go beyond the categories that the liberal and progressive world have put forward. The left has formulated its demands primarily in terms of economic entitlements and political rights. We support these demands but believe they are not deep and radical enough. We think that they do not really address a central dimension of capitalist oppression, which is the triumph of an ethos of selfishness and materialism that is the bottom line of a capitalist world.
Many who adhere to this ethos of selfishness and materialism feel terribly dirtied by the whole enterprise, and desperately seek some escape, which they often find in right-wing movements that put forward a different set of values. These movements say that human beings are to be valued not for what they can achieve in the capitalist marketplace, but for some aspect of who they are. This is where you get the great appeal of fascist movements, ultra-nationalist movements and fundamentalist religious movements, because each of them has something legitimate to offer, namely the valuing of the individual for just being (and you can fill in the blank) an American, a Russian, an Italian, a German, an Israeli, or a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu. Whatever it is, it always involves on the one hand a valuation of anybody who is ‘in’, but also on the other hand the devaluation of everyone who is ‘out’, of that group. Yet these groups have a tremendous appeal because they are a place where you can feel valued for who you are and not for what you can accomplish in the marketplace. It is a way of escaping the selfishness and materialism of the marketplace.
We are trying to create a social movement that challenges these dynamics. Instead of the left abandoning spirituality to the right and allowing the right-wing movements (both nationalistic and religious) to pick up on this deep psychological need, there needs to be a spiritual left that challenges the ethos of the marketplace, that acknowledges the hunger that people have for a framework of meaning and purpose in their lives which can transcend the individualism and selfishness of the competitive marketplace and connect them to something of higher value.

New bottom line

SI: How would these progressive forms of spiritual politics manifest?
ML: The progressive forces should organize not only around economic and political rights but also centrally around a new bottom line. If the old bottom line is money and power, the new bottom line has to be love and caring. Or to put it more precisely, institutions should no longer be judged efficient, rational and productive only to the extent that they maximize money and power, but also to the extent that they maximize love and caring, ethical and ecological sensitivity, and our capacities to respond to the universe with awe and wonder at the grandeur of creation. That is a new bottom line.
What would develop ethical, spiritual sensitivity, what would develop capacities for loving and caring in any given workplace? There is no one formula; but the search for these qualities and the attempt to define them in each workplace would be a very radical search. It would involve a fundamental and very positive transformation. We have some specific ideas about what that could look like, but the specifics are not the center of our demand; the methodology is the center of our demand.

One part of our strategy is to advocate for a Social Responsibility Amendment (SRA) to the US Constitution, saying that corporations with an income of more than $30 million a year must receive a new corporate charter once every 10 years; and that the new corporate charter will only be granted to those corporations which can prove to a jury of ordinary citizens a satisfactory history of social responsibility.
We are not expecting this to pass right away, but we are expecting in the course of the next 20 to 30 years to be able to make significant changes in American society through the struggle for the SRA. In US law, corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to their investors. Investors can actually sue corporations for not paying attention to maximizing their investment. You cannot blame corporate leaders for making the decisions they do. The SRA, however, will change that. It says to corporate managers: “Now you’ll have an argument to make to your investors, because you’ll be able to say to them: ‘I had no choice but to be more socially responsible. Otherwise, you’ll lose your entire investment. I was forced by the SRA to be socially responsible, and it was in your economic interest for me to be so.’”

Global Marshall Plan

SI: Our magazine is called Share International primarily because we believe that there needs to be a more equitable sharing of the food and resources of the world among all people. In a newspaper advertisement that you took out recently, you included an element of the Tikkun Community’s platform, calling for a global Marshall Plan to end poverty, hunger and homelessness, and saying that the US will actually be more secure if we adopt this plan. Can you talk about why you see this as being so important to your platform?
ML: We certainly are on the same line there — it is certainly a central idea of the Tikkun Community. We affirm the unity of all beings, the fundamental truth that the well-being of each of us on this planet depends upon the well-being of everyone else on the planet. The fundamental distortion in political life today is the inability to recognize that, and to recognize that we are all in the same boat. When we pollute somewhere in the Third World, the pollution will come back and affect us in the First World. There is no way for us to look out for our own interests that will not ultimately hurt us unless we are looking out for the interests of everyone else.

This is the central spiritual message that the spiritual traditions have been preaching for thousands of years, which the rest of the world, including the West, has to understand. There is no way of looking out for our self without looking out for others. We are all interconnected. Loving your neighbor, loving the stranger, pursuing justice and pursuing peace are not simply altruistic acts; they are also self-interested acts. Ultimately, there is no sense of separation between altruism and self-interest. Anybody with a rational self-interest will understand the need for altruism.

That understanding leads us to a politics that says our caring for ourselves has to be caring for others. The well-being of the United States, both economically and also from the standpoint of protection against those who would strike against us as they did in 9/11, will come from a world in which the fundamental needs of everyone on the planet have been met and in which all of the needs of the planet itself will have been met. We are talking about a completely different orientation towards politics.

Concretely, as a first step in this direction, we call for a global Marshall Plan. We want to see the United States take the lead in creating a consortium of the advanced industrial countries to dedicate about 5 per cent of their Gross National Product each year for the next 20 years to rebuilding the economies and infrastructures of the rest of the world — particularly Third World countries where there is a high level of poverty — in such a way as to eliminate poverty, hunger, hopelessness, inadequate education and inadequate healthcare. And to do that in a way that is ecologically and culturally sensitive to the realities of the people living there, but nevertheless to put massive amounts of funding into rectifying the vast imbalances in economic life on the planet so that we can all be sharing together. That is also a part of the vision.
We also recognize that the central problem facing the human race in the 21st century is rectifying 150 years of ecological irresponsibility. This is the absolute survival necessity for the human race. The only way that is going to happen is when people get over this ridiculous chauvinist nationalism and begin to recognize that we are all in the same boat and have to work together and care for each other.

SI: How are you going about getting these ideas out into society at large?
ML: Our major focus now is building a grassroots organization, the Tikkun Community, as the vehicle through which these ideas get articulated in the public sphere. We had a conference at the Democratic National Convention in August 2004 to present some of these ideas. As a next step with our local groups in the Tikkun Community, we are trying to set up meetings with the leadership of the various social change movements, the Democratic Party, the Greens and other political parties, the labor movement, the women’s movement, the anti-war movement, and so forth, to try to explain these ideas and perspectives.

SI: You have been involved in progressive political issues as well as Middle East issues for a long time. Have you seen progress made toward the ideas that you espouse?
ML: Definitely on the Middle East there has been a huge movement in the direction of what Tikkun has been putting forward. When we started out 18 years ago, Tikkun magazine was seen as extremist in calling for reconciliation between Israel and Palestine. The vast majority of the Jewish establishment did not even recognize the right of the Palestinians to exist as a people, much less a Palestinian state. Today, we have George Bush articulating the need for a Palestinian state. So, yes, there has been a huge change in that sphere.
In regards to trying to get spiritual politics taken seriously in the liberal progressive world, that is a harder sell. It has only been after the 2004 US election that I am beginning to hear some slight indication of movement. We are going to be setting up a yearly conference of spiritual activism, and hope over the course of the next several years to consolidate spiritual activism into a more coherent political force.

For more information:

The wall must fall

Interview with Israeli activist Tally Gur
by Suzette van IJssel

‘Bat Shalom’ is an Israeli national feminist grassroots organization of Jewish and Palestinian Israeli women who are working together against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and towards a just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Tally Gur has been an activist with Bat Shalom for over eight years. She has just finished her MA studies in public policy and management. Suzette Van IJssel interviewed her for Share International.

This separation wall will collapse one dayShare International: What does Bat Shalom stand for?
Tally Gur: Bat Shalom means ‘daughter of peace’. This reflects the fact that we, as women, not only believe in the possibility of peace, we are also committed to it. We believe that advocating women’s political empowerment and their active involvement in peacemaking processes is essential to the resolution of the conflict. Women must be involved at both the grassroots and the policy-making levels to seek solutions. By bringing together women from different spheres of our society, like politics, education and local communities, we raise one another’s consciousness. Women are becoming more aware of Israel’s policies and its actions to destroy systematically the basis for secure and orderly life in the Occupied Territories.
From our point of view, the violence will continue as long as the occupation continues. The occupation is one of the major obstacles to peace. We call upon all women to join our active struggle for peace and equality because we refuse to stand silently by while witnessing the destruction of the hope and future of a peaceful reconciliation. Together we protest against the 1967 occupation and all forms of racism, killing, house demolitions and land confiscations. We protest against the siege and the daily curfews on villages, camps and cities.
Not everyone knows this, but Israel is violating international laws and norms and an extensive range of human rights every day. The building of the Separation Wall is a unilateral imposition of borders by the Israeli government, far beyond what is internationally recognized. The consequences for the Palestinian people are devastating, cutting more than 300,000 people from their agricultural lands, schools, hospitals and families, putting their livelihood and existence under daily threat. The wall is putting the life of thousands of mothers, children and babies in danger. And what is more, the wall is a clear obstacle for peace activists from both sides, preventing them from meeting and working together for a better future in the region.

SI: What kind of activities does Bat Shalom initiate and/or participate in?
TG: We work at different levels, at the level of public or social action but also at the level of policy-making. We have just initiated a project titled ‘Women at the Negotiating Table’ based on UN Security Council Resolution 1325. This reaffirms the unique impact of war on women and the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflict, and in peace-building. At this moment Israeli and Palestinian women are hardly participating in decision-making or political negotiation. This needs to change.
But we are also engaged in public activities. One example of this within Israeli society is the Women’s Supermarket Boycott Campaign, in which we encourage women to participate locally in the ongoing struggle to evacuate all the settlements. We distribute brochures that include a list of settlement products that women can decide not to buy. The back page is a tear-off letter that can be sent to the manufacturer, saying that this client used to be a loyal consumer, but since she refuses to invest in further development of the settlements, she is no longer willing to purchase the products. And it is starting to work!
And then of course we organize a lot of public demonstrations. We stand at road-junctions, we stand in the roads and on the construction sites where the Separation Wall continues to be built. We stand and march with our banners calling for an end of the Occupation, an end to the building of an apartheid wall, an end to the violence. While taking part in some of these campaigns women were attacked violently by the Israeli police. But we have not given up on our vision and we will still believe that this wall must fall. We hope that standing together in a spirit of non-violence will encourage more women to join us in our struggle for peace and justice. Like the one in Berlin and like other walls all over the world, it will collapse one day.

SI: What is the response in Israel to your fight?
TG: The atmosphere of threat and fear makes it harder and harder to draw people in Israel to joint Arab-Jewish initiatives. In demonstrations we feel very vulnerable, because a lot of hatred is expressed against us. Of course, we receive our regular hate-mail, in which we are accused of loving Arabs and not Jews. For me it is just the opposite. I do this just because I love my society, the people, the children. It is who I am. I am a descendant of Holocaust-survivors from both sides of my family. Besides that, I come from a military family and opposing military involvement was taboo. Making the choices that I have made was not easy.
Personally I think that the Holocaust-history is being horribly abused in order to justify the cruel Israeli policies. But now, after almost ten years, my parents realize how important this is to me. I dare say that it has changed them; they are more open now. I see this kind of openness manifested on a larger scale in our society. Lately I see a lot of changes. In the past, while I was growing up, it was not ‘done’ to discuss and criticize the Israeli military involvement or to refuse military service. Today there are more and more young people, men and women, who dare to do so. Things seem less black and white. There is more openness, concern and engagement. More alternative views and convictions are being expressed. Gradually people are starting to realize that we activists are not so radical. It seems as if people’s awareness is much broader now. This extends also to the larger domain of women’s activities. Our voices are being expressed, concerning human rights, politics, pornography, women, trade and many other issues.

SI: What inspires you to do this work?
TG: This is who I am. I think about it when I go to sleep and when I wake up. If I don’t do it, I am not myself and I am not alive. Asking how it benefits me, as people sometimes do, is the wrong question, because this is not about me. It is about helping and meaning, creating a change — basic things all people need in their life. The world would be a better place if people started to realize this.

SI: What do women in particular have to contribute to the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
TG: First of all we bring the stories of women suffering from this conflict to the attention of the wider public. As Resolution 1325 states: war has a unique impact on women. Many people do not know that it is particularly women and children who suffer from the effects of the Wall. The checkpoints are places where a lot of sexual harassment takes place, pregnant women are not allowed to get to hospital and some even lose their babies because of this. But I believe that we can also play an important role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.
From personal experience I have found out that we as women are able to stay focused on the common goals that we share. We definitely do not always agree with one another on how to go forward in our struggle, but we have a very strong base in our shared longing to end both the occupation and the violence. Again and again our co-operation shows that what we share is much stronger than what divides us. Being able to accept one another’s differences and stay focussed on what matters is, in my opinion, what women have to offer. We, as the Jewish majority in Israel, have collectively to take responsibility for the creation of a tremendously unequal situation. And I see the women bringing about the beginning of this necessary change. But we need more. Progressive groups like ours in Israel need a completely different sort of intervention or involvement from the American one. We need a European partnership. We need to educate public awareness. We need the rest of the world to be involved!

Voice of the people

Russian pensioners protest

Tens of thousands of pensioners have been demonstrating on city streets across Russia in protest against Kremlin reforms which have withdrawn the traditional free benefits which helped the elderly eke out meagre pensions, in favour of a small cash payment.
Since the start of the new system on 1 January 2005, elderly Russians have blockaded roads, occupied local government buildings and immobilized dozens of city centres in large numbers. They complain that the new monthly cash payments comes nowhere near compensating for the lost benefits, which included free public transport, housing subsidies and discount medications.

“The first demonstrations were spontaneous, but soon we’ll see well-organized protests break out across the country,” said Vladimir Ryzhkov, an independent deputy in the Russian Duma. “The bottom line here is that Russian pensioners are in a state of desperation.”
Retired war veteran Valentin Makarov, 84, was one of hundreds of pensioners who blocked the main road between the dormitory suburb of Khimki and Moscow. His monthly pension of 2,300 rubles (about US$82) was increased by just 450 rubles (US$16) to cover the loss of the free benefits, but his apartment maintenance charges alone leapt 30 per cent (300 rubles) at the start of the year, public transport will cost him a further 600 rubles, and the prices of gas, electricity and most other living costs are rising. “There is no way to make ends meet,” he said, “and the few things we could rely on to be free have been taken away. The police set dogs on us and pushed us back. They treated us like cattle,” said Mr Makarov. “I’m still boiling with rage that the state I served all my life will not listen to my protests. I’m ready to go on blocking the roads until it does.” (Source: Associated Press)

Over 150,000 gather for World Social Forum

2005 World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in January 2005More than 150,000 people from 135 countries took part in the 2005 World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in January 2005. Since its inception five years ago, the Forum has focused on searching for alternatives to war, ending poverty, establishing fair trade, demanding human rights and respecting the environment. Events this year included a massive street march of more than 200,000 participants, and various demonstrations, rallies, information booths, lectures and roundtable discussions on a wide range of topics. One of the more prominent campaigns was the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (, a civil society movement demanding that nations accelerate their efforts to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

2005 World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in January 2005Former Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Guterres, current president of the Socialist International, attended the Forum, promoting a “non-paternalistic Marshall Plan” for Africa. In an interview with InterPress Service, Guterres said that the world needs a new approach, that we need to find ways in which we “take into account the needs for economic development, social cohesion and environmental sustainability”, but that “international institutions needed reforming and a multilateral system of governance should be established. “All of this,” he said, “has to do with the problems of the IMF, WTO and World Bank, and the need to move away from a situation in which finance always comes before social development and the environment, because all of these questions are inter-related.”

Also attending was Brazil’s President, Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva, who emphasised how important it is to “join forces and transform the hunger problem from a social issue to a political issue”. Referring to the unifying effect of the tragedy of the tsunami, Lula said that poverty is a “silent earthquake reverberating from the ravines of global inequality”. He said that the 20th century had been characterized by “abundance and injustice” pointing out that “in the last 40 years, world Gross Domestic Product doubled while economic inequality between the centre and the periphery of the planet tripled. The richest 25 per cent of the planet consume 80 per cent of available resources, while almost 2 billion people live beneath the poverty line, on less than $2 per day. The industrialised economies spend $900 billion to protect their borders but dedicate less than £60 ($111.5) billion to poor countries, where hunger is the primary weapon of mass destruction, killing 11 children each minute, 24,000 people each day — the equivalent of one tsunami per week.”

Lula also highlighted the role of the United Nations, making the point that it needs reform since decisions which impact the lives of millions are in the hands of a few within the Security Council. “If poor countries are to be able to make the fight for development a priority of the global agenda, democracy must be deepened at the center of power. The reform of the United Nations and particularly the Security Council is part of this agenda. But the line of inequality will not shift as long as political power remains locked in place by a financial system that perpetuates current relationships. Forty-five per cent of the decision-making of the World Bank is assigned to the seven richest countries. Five central economies hold 40 per cent of the votes in the International Monetary Fund, while 23 African nations prostrated by hunger have 1 per cent.” However Lula found himself put on the defensive at Porto Alegre where some Brazilians in the crowd, impatient for change, heckled and interrupted his speech, calling for faster improvements in the lot of the poor.

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, also speaking at the Forum, stood firmly behind Lula’s initiatives and expressed respect for those great humanitarian leaders and activists of the past who paved the way for modern-day progressives. Jesus Christ, Chavez said, was the “greatest fighter and revolutionary” — a thought befitting a Forum with the theme ‘another world is possible’.
Share International co-workers from the United States and France hosted an information booth and distributed material in many languages. They provided lectures and Transmission Meditation workshops that were translated into Portuguese. Local Brazilians and other Forum visitors were very receptive to the ideas of Maitreya’s emergence, sharing the world’s resources, global co-operation, and Transmission Meditation.
(Source: IPS; The Guardian, UK; TerraViva online)

Facts and forecasts

Nations ranked on environment

“The environment will become the number one issue throughout the world. Even
a few years ago, no politician took the environment seriously; now the concern is there. This growth in concern is the result of increasing Self-awareness.” (Maitreya associate, Maitreya’s Mission Volume Two)

Countries from northern and central Europe and South America dominated the top places in the 2005 Index of Environmental sustainability, which ranks nations on their success at such tasks as improving air and water quality, maximizing biodiversity and co-operating with other countries on environmental problems.
The top three spots in the ranking, prepared by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities, are held by Finland, Norway and Uruguay. The index is the second produced in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, which meets annually in Davos, Switzerland. The first index was produced in 2002.

The report is based on 75 measurements, including the rate of children dying from respiratory diseases, fertility rates, water quality, overfishing, emission of heat-trapping gases, and the export of sodium dioxide, a major component of acid rain.
Irritation at low rankings in the 2002 index spurred countries like Mexico and South Korea to improve their efforts, said Daniel C. Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and an author of the report. Young Keun Chung, an environmental economist with South Korea's state Korea Environment Institute, agreed: "The first time we were shocked. Our government wanted to improve our situation. So we concentrated on improving environmental policy, pollution problems, and traffic problems." South Korea moved up 13 places between 2002 and the new report. (Source: The New York Times, USA)

China losing faith in US dollar

“They [the United States] will ruefully watch an attack on their proudly held freedoms; they will see a steep decline in their standard of living as the government, of necessity, strives to tackle their enormous debts; they will witness a loss of confidence in their currency and a sharp reversal of trade with their traditional trading partners.”
(Benjamin Creme’s Master, Share International, December 2004)

A top Chinese economist said China has lost faith in the stability of the US dollar, and that his nation should no longer link the value of its currency only to the dollar. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2005, Fan Gang, director of the National Economic Research Institute at the China Reform Foundation, said: "The US dollar is no longer (seen) as a stable currency, and is devaluating all the time, and that's causing trouble."
(Source: Associated Press)

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First published April 1999,