Danny Glover and “The Love That Will Not Die”

Danny Glover is one of our great ‘Statesmen.’ One of the men who state the truth about the state of our state in a state of grace.

Mr Glover is ‘a brother from another mother’, to use the parlance of our times. Mr ‘G’ Lover Danny Glover is an old soul and old school all the way. His performance in ‘Lethal Weapon’ is comedic genius, and his range of characters and depth of portrayals speak for themselves. Lethal Weapon, Predator, The Color Purple and The Royal Tannenbaums are all great films for their respective genres, but his work outside Hollywood is what’s really impressive.

Link to wonderful interview here with much more info on his work: http://www.abilitymagazine.com/glover_interview.html

Our fictional “2012″ President, is actually one of our great unheralded leaders in ‘unvirtual’ reality. He co-founded  Los Angeles’ The Robey Theater in 1994 in memory of Paul Robeson, carrying on the fine American tradition of stage as social engagement and upliftment.

The vivacious 63 year old has been heavily involved in many humanitarian and social causes over the years. Like many of our great artists, Danny was able to transcend a ‘dis-order’. He suffered from epilepsy as a teenager and young man, but was able to overcome it through the sheer force of will and grace.

While you will hear the ridiculousness of Mr Glover’s more popular and quite insane partner in crime-stopping Mel Gibson paraded all over our ‘media’, Danny is doing very important and unheralded work. Another blatantly ironic example of how the corporate media pollutes the waters of public discourse and debate, and to top it all off it seems purposeful. Why do we hear that crazy jerkwater Aussie Mel Gibson’s rants ad nauseum over and over again while the valuable work and spirit of the great American Danny Glover goes relatively unrecognized by the MSM?

There would be so many obvious segues to use…one of which is the recent racist rants of Melly Mel which include the N-bomb. What better way to soft fade into a story about Mr Glover and what is going on in neighborhoods like Detroit and with people of color all over the world. I guess the Mainstream Media missed that one, as they do over and over again. Oh well.

For an idea of the type of character assassinations the media like to do go here for some BS.   http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/05/09/danny-glover-booed-not-putting-hand-over-his-heart-during-flag-ceremony

He is gettin’ way to old for this shit! Let’s let him retire and give him the accolades he deserves while he is still here. I am afraid that until we start honoring the people who are helping us instead of those who are hurting us, we will not be able to transcend our collective dis-order. Let’s not let our great American Statesmen end up marginalized like Paul Robeson was and is.  It pains me to see this happening to Danny Glover in 2010.

Here he sits with Shihab Rattansi for “Fault Lines” from Al Jazeera English TV. Trance-scripts follow Pema’s words.

He sits like Sitting Bull and speaks like Black Elk. He is one of those wonderful peaceful warriors who seems honored to speak for the disenfranchised and dispossessed. I feel enlightened and elevated by watching people like this, I feel moved and inspired to be a better person. I am making a citizens arrest on ‘Detective Murtaugh’ and charging him with being a wonderful and courageous individual who deserves to be honored and acknowledged. We could at least send him some virtual hugs and support the causes that he works so hard for.

Danny is someone who can speak from the heart on a tragic and sad scene but is somehow able to hold the emotion of the people and their stories in witness and testimony. As a master storyteller and cultural ambassador, Mr Glover is doing the important work of what the Buddhists refer to as tonglen.

In Pema Chodron‘s wonderful book, “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times“, she de-scribes the Buddhist practice of tonglen, “sending and receiving.” It is a breathe and mindfulness technique that allows you to transcend pain and suffering through connecting with our deeper shared truths.

In Chapter Fourteen entitled “The Love That Will Not Die” she speaks beautifully of the art and heart of tonglen, and it’s connection to Bodhichitta-“an awakened heart.”

The beatific sage Pema Chodron is a foremost student of Choygam Trungpa and the Shambala School of Buddhism, which may qualify them as the “Coolest Buddhists.” Shambala is Jazz Buddhism. The soundtrack would be Coltrane’s and Kerouacs ecstatic Waxxstax.

“I can tell my sister by the flowers in her eyes
On the road to Shambala
I can tell my brother by the flowers in his eyes
On the road to Shambala”

Three Dog Night

From Wiki Tiki Tavi:

“Shambhala Buddhism partly derives from the teachings of Shambhala, as originally proclaimed by Chögyam Trungpa, which state that “there is a natural source of radiance and brilliance in the world, which is the innate wakefulness of human beings. This is the basis, in myth and inspiration, of the Kingdom of Shambhala, an enlightened society of fearlessness, dignity and compassion.” Furthermore, Shambhala vision applies to people of any faith, not just people who believe in Buddhism… the Shambhala vision does not distinguish a Buddhist from a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, a Moslem, a Hindu. That’s why we call it the Shambhala kingdom. A kingdom should have lots of spiritual disciplines in it.”[2]

These are the Pema Chodron quotes from Ch 14:

I ended up typing the entire chapter except for a few paragraphs, but it is only six pages.

My notes are in bold as they are bold notes.

And away we go!

pg 86. “This kinship with the suffering of others, this inability to continue to regard it form afar, is the discover of our soft spot, the discovery of “Bodhichitta.” Bodhichitta, is a Sanskrit word that means “noble or awakened heart.” It is said to be present in all beings. Just as butter is inherent in milk and oil is inherent in a sesame seed, this soft spot is inherent in you and me.”

pg 87. “We awaken this bodhichitta, this tenderness for life when we can no longer shield ourselves from the vulnerability of our condition, from the basic fragility of existence. . In the words of the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, “You take it all in. You let the pain of the world touch your heart and you turn it into compassion.”

“It is said that in difficult times, it is only bodhichitta that heals. When inspiration has become hidden, when we feel ready to give up, this is the time when healing can be found in the tenderness of pain itself. This is the time to touch the genuine heart of bodhichitta. In the midst of loneliness, in the midst of fear, in the middle of feeling misunderstood and rejected is the heartbeat of all things, the genuine heart of sadness.”

“Just as a jewel that has been buried in the earth for a million years is not discolored or harmed, in the way this noble heart is not affected by all of our kicking and screaming. the jewel can be brought out into the light at any time, and it will glow as brilliantly as if nothing had ever happened. No matter how committed we are to unkindness, selfishness, or greed, the genuine heart of bodhichitta cannot be lost. It is here in all that lives, never marred and completely whole.”

That is the trick they play, the trompe l’oeil or what I like to call the ‘trompe de la soul.’ Mos Def are we caught up in a trick of the senses…defenseless and desensitized, the eyes and ears are all up for sale…if they could send you smells through the TV to sell you they would. They are all excited about 3D, but are we?

Their is a jewel within. Original sin? The origin of sin is not within or without you.  Fear is used to doubt you.  Don’t be distracted, the truth is didacted. These false statements of  hate need to be retracted.


“We think that by protecting ourselves from suffering we are being kind to ourselves. The truth is, we only become more fearful, more hardened, and more alienated. We experience ourselves as being separate from the whole. This separateness becomes like a prison for us, a prison that restricts us to our own personal hopes and fears and to caring only for the people nearest to us. Curiously enough, if we primarily try to shield ours-elves from discomfort we suffer.”

Is this the same modality that expresses itself in the strengthening of our immune system by adapting and working with bacteria in our natural environment? It seems as if it might not be in our best interest as a species on so many levels to sanitize everything. A la, playing in the mud might actually be good for you.

pg 89

“Yet when we don’t close off and we let our hearts break, we discover ourkinship with all beings. His Holiness the Dalai Lama describes two kinds of selfish people: the unwise and the wise. Unwise selfish people think only of themselves and the result is confusion and pain. Wise selfish people know that the best thing they can do for themselves is to be there for others. As a result, they experience joy.”

Selfish joy. The joy of self-lessness. Sell fish of joy not fish of hate. In other words, don’t be a fishmonger, unless your name is Molly Malone.

“When we see a woman and her child begging on the street, when we see a man mercilessly beating his terrified dog, when we see a teenager who has been badly beaten or see fear in the eyes of a child, do we turn away because we can’t bear it? Most of us probably do. Someone needs to encourage us not to brush aside what we feel, not to be ashamed of the love and grief it arouses in us, not to be afraid of the pain. someone needs to encourage us that this soft spot in us could be awakened and that to do this would change our lives.”

We are told pain is bad, to be avoided at all costs. Maybe pain can teach us things about ourselves. We need to ask ourselves if avoiding pain all the time is preventing us from the discovery of a higher self.

“The practice of “tonglen”-sending and receiving-is designed to awaken bodhichitta,to put us in touch with genuine noble heart. It is a practice of taking in pain and sending out pleasure and therefore completely turns around our well-established habit of doing just the opposite.”

“Tonglen is a practice of crating space, ventilating the atmosphere of our lives so that people can breathe freely and relax. Whenever we encounter suffering in any form, the tonglen instruction is to breathe it in, with the wish that everyone could be free of pain. Whenever we encounter happiness in any form, the instruction is to breathe it out, send it out, with the wish that everyone could feel joy. It’s a practice that allows people to feel less burdened and less cramped, a practice that shows us how to love without conditions.”

“When we breathe in pain, somehow it penetrates that armor. The way we guard ourselves is getting softened up. This heavy, rustic , creaking armor begins to seem not so monolithic after all. With the in-breathe the armor begins to fall apart, and we find we can breathe deeply and relax. A kindness and tenderness begin to emerge. We don’t have to tense up as if our whole life were being spent in the dentist’s chair.

When we breathe out relief and spaciousness , we are also encouraging the armor to dissolve. The out-breathe is a metaphor for opening our whole being. When something is precious, instead of holding it tightly, we can open our hands and share it. We can give it all away. We can share the wealth of this unfathomable human experience.”

What is this tightness and tension? Is it caused more by our confusion then the actual fear itself?  This indecisiveness  may be the cause of most of our tension and the MSM, or ‘Main-Stream-Media’ seem to  be confusing the situation even more and adding to the tension of an already chaotic world by inflaming our fears with their inflammatory ways. How much of the tension is real and how much is caused by our confusion and inaction, or wrong-action?

pg 90.

“Awakened heart can always be discovered like that. It does not take gearing up or struggling to achieve. when strategies are not yet formed and we feel uncertain about which way to turn, in those moments of vulnerability, bodhichatta is always there. It manifests as basic openness, which Buddhists call shunyuta It manifests as basic tenderness, basic compassionate warmth. When we walk around like we’re expecting to be attacked, we block it. When we release the tension between this and that, the struggle between us and them, that’s when bodhichitta will emerge.”

“At the relative level, our noble heart is felt as kinship with all beings. At the absolute level, we experience it as ground-lessness or open space.”

pg 91.

“When we experience the soft spot of bodhichitta , it’s like returning home. It’s as if we had amnesia for a very long time and awaken to remember who we are. The poet Jalludin Rumi writes of night travelers who search the darkness instead of running from it, a companionship of people willing to know their own fear. Whether it’s in the small fears of a job interview or the unnameable terrors imposed by war, prejudice, and hatred; whether it’s in the loneliness of a widow or the horrors of children shamed or abused by a parent, in the tenderness of the pain itself , night travelers discover the light of bodhichitta.

“Bodhichitta is available in moments of caring for things, when we clean our glasses or brush our hair. It’s available in moments of appreciation, when we notice the blue sky or pause and listen to the rain. It is available in moments of gratitude, when we recall a kindness or recognize another person’s courage. It is available in music and dance, in art, and in poetry. Whenever we let go of holding on to ourselves and look at the world around us, whenever we connect with sorrow, whenever we connect with joy, whenever we drop our resentment and complaint, in those moments bodhichitta is here.”

“Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain. We leave our attachments and our worldliness behind and slowly make our way to the top. At the peak we have transcended all pain. The only problem with this metaphor is that we leave all the others behind-our drunken brother, our schizophrenic sister, our tormented animals and friends. Their suffering continues, unrelieved by our personal escape.”

“In the process of discovering bodhichitta, the journey goes down, not up. It’s as if the mountain pointed toward the center of the earth instead of reaching into the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward the turbulence and doubt. We jump into it. We slide into it. We tiptoe into it. We move toward it however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes , we let it be as it is. At our own pace without speed or aggression we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear. At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of bodhichitta. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die.”

Is their a almost total suspension of self-judgment when we confront our highest and ultimate reality? Pema, is a shining example of what confronting the sorrows and heartaches of life can do for your spirit. To be a witness and to teach this to others is her beautiful way.

It is a concept and breathe-work that goes deep down. That allows us to feel and honor the suffering of others without becoming hopeless or despaired.

And back to Danny:

When I watch someone speaking in a spiritual way about a political subject, a point of view that is never expressed in the mainstream media or often in independent media, I feel and see our false socio-political compartmentalizations dissipate and dissolve.

This is a challenging interview, while I don’t love Mr Rattansi’s tone I think he does a good job here. His skeptical and pointed questions allow Danny to show his wisdom and depth. The first part is Danny speaking on the domestic scene, the paradigm of the Social Forum. In the second part, Mr Glover speaks on Latin America, Haiti and Education.

Is there a more generous and gracious person on the planet? One of our great actors and humanitarians, Mr Danny Glover on “Fault Lines”.

And away we go!

Mr Shihab introduces Danny:

“In 1968 he took part in the longest campus strike in US history at SF University, fighting for and succeeding in founding the first school of ethnic studies in the country. His activism spans HIV awareness to union organization, to peace and justice in the middle east. In 2004 he was arrested outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington DC at a protest over Darfur”

The beautiful and brilliant Danny Glover speaking from the McDougal library in downtown Detroit, MI.

“This library is an edifice of the dysfunctional-ism of the collapse of an idea, of a way of life. Forty percent unemployment in Detroit, so there is a different connection to 40% unemployment and this right here, this library a very functional library, and the significance of what a library means in people’s lives, a communities lives.”

“With this collapse, which is the obvious collapse of a paradigm, a failure of a paradigm, what happens now? What do we do now, how do we begin to reconstruct and re-imagine our world.”

“One of the disconnects that we often have in this country is the disconnect between ideas, ideology and real practice, and using that ideology to move forward in some proactive practice.”

“How do we now activate ourselves, and begin to plan the world and plan communities we envision.”

“Since history is about stories and who’s storied are elevated, who’s stories are validated. How do we validate our story? And those validations of the story could be in the midst of this forty percent unemployment here, but in the midst of this something is happening here in Detroit.”

“I think it is important for us to acknowledge our victories and sometimes our victories don’t show up in the electoral process , sometimes our victories don’t show up in the decisions that’s made in Congress and the President. Sometimes the victory shows up in the level and intensity of mobilization that comes as a result of that and I think the intensity and mobilization is coming up cause across this country it is vital for real action and real change. “

In an analogy to Chavez and MLK, Danny speaks on how the movement of the people rose these figures up. It was not a ‘cult of personality’ which the media like to promote.

Dr King would tell you this, ‘I may have been a simple preacher but the movement itself rose me to the heights I’ve rose, I’ve come. So the question becomes, at this particular time in Latin America this change is occurring. How it changes within the framework of changing attitudes, relationship to people within respective societies and respective countries. What it means in terms of consumption, what it means to bettering their lives, those are real things. People went from the vantage point that we want a better life, labor aligned with things that they did not have alliances before saying we want a better life, indigenous people aligning themselves.”

“My interest came out because in this hemisphere there are 150 million African descendants in this hemisphere, only 35-36 live here here. The majority of them live in Latin America….90% of them live in poverty, how do they begin to signify their own presence in this whole changing apparatus that is happening. That’s what important, that’s what I am watching. I am not a rock star worshiper, I am watching what the people are doing.”

And about Haiti.

“I think Haiti is very capable of managing it’s own affairs, if they are given the opportunity…my argument is that they have never been given the opportunity to manage their own affairs.”

“Haiti could be a real model for what we talk bout ecological redevelopment, development. It could be a real model of when we think about how does a country from the global south, a underdeveloped country develop itself, it could be a real model for that. I am afraid it is not going to be that model but models that we all envision and what we would like to see is an inclusive model, that also involves the Haitians in Haiti but also the expatriate community. I think it has to be a model that involves Latin America. Cause as much of Latin America’s history and current political situation, the arc revolves around Haiti.”

“There has to be an encompassing discourse about development, poverty, education, health…given the enormous technology we have, insight we have and information we have. So when we talk about Haiti at this time and how we frame this agenda. Haiti is a country of only 8 million people, think and imagine if we were able to support the Haitian’s own action for development. When I say support, we know what happens with NGO’s (Non-Government Organizations), with what USAID has done, what has happened with USAID since it’s inception. We know that most of the money doesn’t go to the project itself but to those contractors and sub-contractors who manage the problem. So how do we get the money to people who begin to shape the context of their own lives and begin to shape the way they become the architects of their own rescue.”

And on childhood education Danny just shines. No script, no teleprompter, just someone speaking from the heart in a beautiful way about  a painful subject. So rare and so uplifting.

“Everyone who talks about education from Jonathan Corsaw to all of the great people who talk about education, will tell you what it means and what it takes to educate a child. Why do we talk about a child losing their curiosity by the 4th grade? What is the magic about that? You look at a third grade class, 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade class you find these incredibly creative kids, by the fourth grade they’re zombies. What is happening here in this process, how do we reverse this process? It takes the resources and political will to do it.”

“How do we institutionalize that change as well. How do we institute the sense that people have the right to have expectations and how do we do that in such a way that we create the new communities of the 21st Century. To remind you, we haven’t even talked about what’s happening to our precious planet here and what we done to that.”

“The answer comes with forcing our will. The question always becomes, is that if we mobilize that will we can win…That will has been mobilized on numerous occasions. That will has been mobilized during the Civil Rights Movement, mobilized in our activities to bring about the election of Barack Obama. That will has the capacity to be mobilized. If we organize that will and move that will in a way in which we talk about the practical things that we have to deal with in life. How do we get food, how do we service our communities, how do we raise our children, how do we create an atmosphere of love and compassion.”

“That’s what is being talked about in this room right here, in these room right here.”

And scene.

Here are some of  my notes in closing.

When I look at a man like this I see someone who has achieved a high level of understanding and compassion because of what he has to overcome. Danny is a large, dark-skinned black man living in a society where a large percentage of the population views the African American struggle as threatening. If Danny was in college at SF State back in the late sixties, it means he grew up in the fifties and early sixties in a pre-civil rights era, where Jim Crow still dominated culture and society. While I hope Danny and his family were spared, I am sure he at least saw first hand the hatred and violence that came with being regarded as a second class citizen, as being less than human.

And instead of using his size and strength to intimidate or influence people he uses a gentle kindness and child like wonder and hope to help open our eyes. When I close my eyes I hear the Dali Llama or Mahatma Gandhi. Then I laugh and hear him say, “I am getting too old for this shit!”

The African American experience is one of “soulforce” as MLK put it. Just because the AA experience is “loud” or “in your face” does not mean it is not spiritual. The cultural contexts may be Afro-centered, but the spirit is one that is found in all cultures, Gaelic, elvesBraveheart you name it. It is not a “black thang.” It’s our shared struggle against negative forces that joins us.

The sad thing is that the corporate media likes to introduce and reinforce negative psychological paradigms at the expense of our beautiful and historically valuable stories and people. We have way more in common, no matter what culture or race or religion we come from with each others stories than the ‘corporatized’ version of events.

Think Howard Zinn’s “Peoples  History”, of which Danny took part in recently. These are our stories, important stories that your Mother or Grandmother might have told you, if you were lucky enough. These are stories that weave the fabric of our neighborhoods and societies. These are the fibers that strengthen Ariadne’s Thread.  She is the great grandmother that weaves our story and brings us together in our shared humanity.

Kerouac from “America’s New Trinity of Love.”

“There is the need all around to be recognized and adored by some other human being, the need all around for kindness, for the ideal of love which does not exclude cruelty but is all-embracing, non-assertive, simply lovely. Not necessarily the Dionysian orgy but the tender communion.”

It is this thread that is woven in the hearts and minds of our shared fate, along with our beauty and so called ugliness into an amazing tapestry of human potential and courage. At the heart of this design is love and compassion reinforced by the strong bonds that a shared fate instills in an engaged and just society.

If we can put aside our fears of whatever, and begin to see how a corporatized society with overwhelmingly corporate values may not be the best thing for building strong bonds that reinforce our communities strengths, we can then reach out to the rest of the world with more openness and understanding. And it will return.

A corporate owned infrastructure cares not for our history or stories. Walmart may hire Grandpa as a greeter, but they don’t care one nit about him.

Let’s stop being nit-wits and start being knit-wits.

Capitalism wants to pave over our history and struggle with a cleaner and more sanitized version of what it means to be human. Humans need to feel safe but we are sacrificing our cultural and historical identities to only feeeeel safer. This isn’t a bummer, it is a tragedy of epic proportions.

Three Dog Night has a beautiful story of love from the early 70’s called “Shambala.” And here are some shiny happy people sharing their story of  Shambala with us now.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tgnetz
    Jul 14, 2010 @ 14:02:39

    Great article. The language is great (I decided to check out your site after the comment you left on my blog (The Midnight Review). The Three Dog Night song is an excellent accompaniment.

    It is disheartening that Glover doesn’t get more recognition for his actions while Mel Gibson gets more attention for beating his wife, but we live in a society that will opt for gossip over substance. I suspect the 2012 elections will be covered in a TMZ fashion where the most outrageous candidate makes the headlines…


    • jasondylan
      Jul 14, 2010 @ 14:14:26

      Thanks man! Yeah, that is what we get, 24 hour cable news pablum. They are trying keep this thing at the commie-tragic level and prevent the real stories from coming out. It is a selfish shell game that they play and the consequences are just awful. Shame on them.

      You have a great site dude. I remember checking you out now and again over the years and I am glad I found ya again. What are you typing 100 WPM’s over there or what?



  2. upayacouncil
    Mar 10, 2012 @ 22:29:19

    “The necessary and welcome economic growth within our Sangha, in the form of business operations and commercial and domestic investments, has brought along as a by—product an increasing frequency of disagreements and disputes. There is a need for our society to provide resources for the sane, nonagressive resolution of such conflicts in keeping with the principles of Dharma and the Great Eastern Sun. Accordingly I have decided to institute and appoint the Upaya Council. The function of the Upaya Council shall be to mediate and/or arbitrate commercial and domestic disputes among members of the Vajradhatu community, as individuals, groups, or businesses. It shall be the initial task of the Upaya Council to propose to me and my Privy Council a set of guidelines under which it shall operate. There shall be no internal hierarchy within the Upaya Council and each member shall have an equal voice; the findings of the Council shall be arrived at by unanimous consent.”

    ~ Vajracarya the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, Spring, 1979.

    Upaya Council


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