• To submit a guest commentary, or contact
    Mike Schwager directly, e-mail:moschwager@aol.com
  • Recommended Books

    "Click on image of book to purchase on Amazon.com"
  • Animals

    “The Emotional Lives of Animals” by Marc Bekoff

    “Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation in America” by Nathan Winograd

    “Guardians of Being: Spiritual Teachings From Our Dogs and Cats” by Eckhart Tolle and Patrick O’Donnell

    “Angel Dogs: Divine Messengers of Love” by Allen and Linda Anderson

  • Business

    “The Evolution of an Entrepreneur: Featuring My 50 Best Tips for Surviving and Thriving in Business” by Jack Nadel

    “The BEST In Us: People, Profit and the Remaking of Modern Leadership” by Cleve W. Stevens

  • Creativity

    "The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity" by Julia Cameron
  • Diet / Food

    “Diet For A New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth” by John Robbins
  • Inspiration

    "The Art of Waging Peace" by Paul Chappell

    “Agape Love: A Tradition Found In Eight World Religions” by Sir John Templeton

    “The Measure of a Man” by Martin Luther King Jr.

    “The Global Heart Awakens: Humanity’s Rite of Passage from the Love of Power to the Power of Love” by Anodea Judith

    "The Magic of Believing" by Claude M. Bristol

    "The Vision of Emerson" by Richard Geldard

    “Love Poems” by Pablo Neruda

    "Long Walk To Freedom" - The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

    "Mandela's Way: Lessons on Life, Love and Courage" - by Richard Stengel

    "Conversations with Myself" - by Nelson Mandela and Forward by Barack Obama

    "Mandela: The Authorized Portrait" - by Mac Maharaj, Ahmad Kathrada, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Forward by Bill Clinton

  • Motivation

    “Why Do I Keep Doing That? Breaking The Negative Patterns In Your Life” by Dennis Wholey

    "The Portable Therapist" by Susanna McMahon, Ph.D.

    "Creating Money: Keys to Abundance" by Sanaya Roman & Duana Packer

    "Becoming A Life Change Artist" by Fred Mandell and Kathleen Jordan

  • Science

    “Creative Evolution: A Physicist's Resolution Between Darwinism and Intelligent Design” by Dr. Amit Goswami

    “Awakening Earth” by Duane Elgin

    “The Phenomenon of Man” by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

  • Spirituality

    “Kabbalah for Beginners” by Rav Michael Laitman

    “Care of the Soul” by Thomas Moore

    “Dark Nights of the Soul” by Thomas Moore

    “I And Thou” by Martin Buber

    “The Books of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life” by Deepak Chopra

    “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” by Deepak Chopra

    "The Good Heart" by His Holiness The Dalai Lama

    "Anatomy of the Spirit" by Carolyne Myss, Ph.D.

    "The Healing Secrets of the Ages" by Catherine Ponder

    "The Taoist Inner View of the Universe and The Immortal Realm" by Taoist Master NI, HUA-CHING

    "The Art of Spiritual Healing" by Joel Goldsmith

Mike Schwager on “Your Mark On The World”

In this interview on “Your Mark On The World” Forbes.com contributor                   and “Champion of Social Good” Devin Thorpe interviews Mike Schwager                   (www.mediamavens.com and www.TVtraining.tv) about his representation of             humanitarian and non-profit organizations, and advice to do-good groups             about preparing for an interview on national TV, dealing with crisis situations.         Also tips on  speechwriting.  Mike also talks about a few of the heroes in               his life who have impressed him the most.  Mike also reveals plans for the         development of a new Internet spiritual/humanitarian/motivational radio           channel, The Enrichment Channel, and his  call for supporters and                 sponsors.  (Mike is reachable at 954-423-4414, or via e-mail at       moschwager@aol.com).

   

Gatekeeper of The Temple of the Heart: Juliet Hollister

My dear friend Juliet Hollister passed away in 2001. She was 84, going on 24. I never really dwelt on her age, for to know her was to know a youthful spirit, though more than likely a very old soul. Forty years ago, from her kitchen in Greenwich, Connecticut, this then housewife and mother gave birth to a vision that became The Temple of Understanding, a United Nations sanctioned forum for the promotion of dialogue and understanding among and between the great religions of the world. Juliet’s friend, Eleanor Roosevelt, called it, The Spiritual United Nations.

Born in Forest Hills, New York, Juliet studied comparative religion at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary, but as she once told me, “It was not an easy matter at the time for a woman to pursue a career in theology.” After devouring books on the major religions of the world, she became convinced that there was much more that united the great faiths than divided them. She became a living testament to this conviction.

Juliet carried a natural dignity and patrician-like quality, yet was devoid of the all-too-well known nuisances of the ego. She was truly a person without guile, pretense, or condescension. Her personality exuded a great big huggable charm. She had a passion and kindness that combined with a keen intelligence and unusually intense interest in people. She was a kind of magnet, and her presence was felt the moment one found oneself in her company.

Juliet’s life and her magnificent vision were, in a word, simple. I use this word in the highest complimentary sense. The same word comes to mind as I think about one of her dearest friends, His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Ask the Dalai Lama who he is, and he will quickly reply, “I’m just a simple Tibetan monk, nothing more.” Ask the same of Juliet Hollister, and she would respond, “I’m just a simple little mother from Greenwich, Connecticut.” They shared the quality of authenticity. The privilege of meeting authentic persons is truly sweet and illuminating.

The first words I ever heard Juliet say were, “How can I help you?” She had just telephoned me after learning about an idea for a spiritual, human potential television channel I had been trying to generate support for. Before I knew it, she invited me to come to her cottage-like home in Greenwich for tea and to share my vision. She was herself a great storyteller. And the story she loved to tell the most was about her beloved Temple of Understanding, and how that vision became reality.

As she would tell it, “It all began on a day in 1960, sitting in the kitchen of my Greenwich home with a friend, snacking on peanut butter sandwiches, talking about what a mess the world was in, with the spectre of nuclear Armageddon not a remote possibility, when as if out of nowhere, a light turned on in my mind and I excitedly saw an antidote, an ongoing forum where dialogue and understanding could be promoted by bringing all the world’s religions together under one roof.” Juliet would later say that the energy of this idea was enormous, and “I was convinced that I had to do something to bring it into the world.”

She brought the idea to her husband, Dickerman Hollister, a well-networked partner in a Manhattan law firm. After fruitless meetings with foundation executives, Dickerman arranged for his wife to meet Eleanor Roosevelt, at one of the former First Lady’s well-known salons. When approached with the idea, Mrs. Roosevelt immediately became excited, and arranged for Juliet to share her vision with some of the great political, religious, and citizen leaders on a whirlwind ’round-the-world trip. Joined by her youngest son, Dickie, the Connecticut housewife and mother met privately with U Thant, secretary general of the United Nations; Pope John XXIII; President Nasser of Egypt and his vice president, a young Anwar el-Sadat; Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister; Dr. Albert Schweitzer; and the Dalai Lama. Juliet recounts that every leader greeted her idea with resounding and enthusiastic support, except for President Nasser. Though he wasn’t a very pleasant man, he was willing to hear about the idea, and “I remember Mr. Sadat, in an earlier meeting, a much more sympathetic person, as having liked the idea very much,” she recalled. “But in the President’s office, when I actually had the gall to suggest to Mr. Nasser, a vehement enemy of Israel, that it would be a feather in his cap if he initiated peace with that country, he immediately yelled for his security guards to put me and my little boy under arrest, and we were actually thrown into prison!”

The situation looked very bleak, she said, until her son Dickie, when asked by some guards why they were arrested, drew a circle on the dirt floor of the prison cell with his finger, with the symbols of the world’s great religions inscribed inside the circle. “See,” said Dickie, “we want to help bring all the religions together in peace and harmony.” Within the hour, sympathetic guards got word to Mr. Sadat, who gave permission to free Juliet and her son. They were quietly put on the next plane out of the country, unbeknownst to Mr. Nasser.

With the support and blessings of many of the world’s top leaders, Mrs. Hollister’s vision became The Temple of Understanding, which grew into an international educational group recognized by the United Nations as a non-governmental organization. From its Manhattan headquarters, and guided by her leadership and moving spirit, the group organizes symposiums, round-table discussions, educational projects, global forums, and spiritual summit meetings abroad. These summits became a meeting ground for the world’s major spiritual leaders.

The Temple of Understanding also played a key role in developing the North American Interfaith Network, an association of local, regional, national and international interfaith organizations, faith communities, and educational institutions. Conferences are now held annually.

In 1997, the board of directors of The Temple of Understanding created the annual Juliet Hollister Awards. The Award has been given in two categories: one for religious figures who have brought interfaith values into churches, temples, and mosques, and the other for secular figures who have promoted greater understanding of spiritual values in the arts, media, government, science, and law. The award recipients have included: Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan; The Very Reverend James Morton; His Holiness Sri Swami Satchidananda; Maestro Ravi Shankar; Mary Robinson, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights; and His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama. In 1999, the Award was given to Nelson Mandela at the Parliament of the World’s Religions gathering in Cape Town, South Africa. And in subsequent years, other recipients included Chelsea Clinton, in 2010.

I attended the 1997 event, the first Juliet Hollister Awards banquet, at the United Nations. There was Juliet, beaming and resplendent in a blue and gold Indian sari, entering the ballroom to the wild and affectionate acclaim of the 1,000 guests. In 1998, in the magnificent palatial-like hall of the Cipriani Restaurant in Manhattan, sitting next to her beloved friend, the Dalai Lama, more than 2,000 guests stood to give her a long rousing ovation.

“If you love an idea, an idea that is larger than yourself, then love it with all your heart; love it enough to act on it,” she once told me. “Love it enough to put it into the world,” she said. “Don’t give up until you do.”

Juliet succeeded in making her overarching dream a reality. “One unfulfilled dream that I must leave to those who follow me to fulfill,” she said, “is to build and erect the physical Temple of Understanding on the land we purchased years ago in Washington, D.C. The architectural blueprint of the plans for the Temple, executed as well, are also awaiting the hands of the builders when the proper funding comes in,” she said.

After an appearance on The God Squad, the television show co-hosted by a rabbi and a priest on the Telicare Television Network of Long Island, Juliet began to soulfully reflect on the state of the world. “There is so much work yet to be done,” she said. “It is so clear to me that all we have to do is awaken to the fact that we are all ONE, or as my friend Father Thomas Merton has so rightly said, “We are already ONE . . . what we have to become is what we already are.” Said Juliet: “It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Yet so much more work to do. So much more work.”

Above all other places, Juliet loved Kashmir, “the most beautiful spot in all the planet.” She owned a houseboat there, and whenever she could, she would go there “to rest and luxuriate my soul in the sheer beauty of its sacred mountains and skies.” She knew that Kashmir was a place of political conflict and potential danger, yet it would never stop her from making her trips. “I feel the angels are protecting me, and when I go to visit, I always pray that the physical beauty of this God’s world will transform into a beauty experienced on a more ethereal level, penetrating into the hearts and minds of every human being, so that there is beauty too in all our dealings with one another.”

Juliet believed she could see through the veil between life on this side and life in the hereafter and that there was a continuity of consciousness that moved into another plane of existence.

“It’s so clear to me,” she often said, and she firmly believed that one day science would validate and confirm the existence of another side. Juliet was a member of an organization called INIT, comprising a number of leading scientists from around the world, some of them Nobel Laureates, who were conducting technical experiments to secure contact and verify communication from conscious entities who had departed the earthly plane. She claimed that in one of these experiments, she had actually received a visual and audio communication from her beloved husband, Dickerman, who died in 1983.

Bill Moyers, a member of The Temple of Understanding, once said, “I used to think that The Temple of Understanding was an act of sentiment. Now I believe it is an essential strategy for survival.” And for Juliet Garretson Hollister, it has also become her living legacy to a world so very much in its need.

Mike Schwager is host of the Internet radio show, The Enrichment Hour, on WSRadio(dot)com. He is editor of two spiritual blogs, www.Enrichment(dot)com, and www.EnrichOurWorld(dot)net. Mike is also a communications consultant, serving organizations as a speech writer, media interview trainer and publicist (www.mediamavens(dot)com, and www.TVtraining(dot)tv). E-mail him at: moschwager@aol.com.

Richard Goodwin, Middle East Peace Dialogue Network, on Enrichment Hour

My guest on THE ENRICHMENT HOUR for Sunday, March 22nd is DR. RICHARD GOODWIN, Chairman and Founder of the Middle East Peace Dialogue Network, Inc. (www.MEPDN.org), who has focused on making Middle East peace a reality since the early 1980′s. He has supported more than 75 Jewish and Palestinian groups in Israel that promote dialogue, cooperation and tolerance throughout the years.

Show airs at 1 PM Eastern, 12 Noon Central, 11 AM Mountain; and 10 AM Pacific. To listen live at designated time zone hour, go to: www.WSRadio(dot)com, then click on STUDIO B/Live. The show will also be archived starting Tuesday, 3/24.

One of these groups is Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, the “Oasis of Peace” (http://www.nswas.org). Richard sits on the Board of Directors of this community of 60 families. Located mid-way between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, NS-WAS is half Palestinian and half Jewish, all with Israeli citizenship, democratically governed by two elected committees. The village’s mission is to demonstrate that Jews and Palestinians can live together.

Richard was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1928. He resides in Snowmass Village, Colorado. He has one daughter, two sons and three grandchildren.

In 1948, Richard graduated from Drexel University with Bachelor of Science Degree in Commerce and Engineering. He entered the building business in association with his father and brother in 1950. During the 1950′s, the company constructed single-family homes in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. In the early 1960′s, they expanded into land development, sewer and water company and neighborhood shopping center construction, becoming Goodwin Enterprises.

Ramblewood on the Green, the company’s major project, broke ground in Mt. Laurel Township, New Jersey in 1960. The project began with single-family homes built adjacent to Ramblewood Country Club. Townhouses, apartments and condominiums followed in the 1970′s.

Over several decades, Goodwin Enterprises built more than 5,000 homes and apartments as well as developed 15,000 lots for other builders. In the 1970′s, the company expanded into southeastern PA where they built 600 HUD townhouses and 400 conventional apartments. Richard became the sole owner after his father’s death in 1974. His brother left the company in 1962.

Richard served his local and state Home Builder’s Associations as President. He served the National Association of Home builders as Vice President. He is a founder of the National Housing Endowment. He is the creator of the Ethel Lawrence Endowment at Rutgers University Law School honoring the “Mount Laurel Decision” that spread affordable housing throughout America.

Richard has been a long time fundraiser for the United Way of Burlington County, New Jersey and is a member of the Million Dollar Roundtable. He is the founder of the Goodwin Holocaust Museum of Delaware Valley, the Goodwin Holocaust Education Center in Cherry Hill, NJ, and a founder of the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. He is the benefactor of the Richard C. Goodwin College of Professional Studies at Drexel University which awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters. Richard also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam. He is a member of J Street’s Advisory Council.

As founder and chairman of the Goodwin Foundation, Richard has supported more than 100 organizations, programs and institutions throughout the United States. He has raised more than $1 million for prostate cancer research and is the benefactor of the Richard C. Goodwin Daycare Center at the Maasai Heritage Preservation Foundation in Kenya, Africa.

The vision of The Middle East Peace Dialogue Network believes that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is essential to Israel’s survival as the national home of the Jewish people and as a vibrant democracy. It believes that supporting dialogue, reconciliation, and tolerance activities and programs which encourage Israeli-Palestinian interaction is essential to long term peace.

* Promote a comprehensive Regional Peace Plan based on the recommendations of the Geneva Accords, the Geneva Annexes and/or the Arab Peace Initiative as a road map to a negotiated two state solution.
* Support voter identification, education and mobilization campaigns in preparation for Israeli Elections Identify, support and promote emerging pro-Israel, pro two state solution leaders in Israel and the United States
* Support joint Israeli/Palestinian dialogue groups, activities, programs and events promoting recognition and understanding of the other side’s narrative, needs and rights
* Challenge stereotypes, mistrust and fear by bringing together Israeli/Israeli Arab children for social encounters and interactions focused on community and cooperative activities

Richard Goodwin’s Dream is that out of the mist will appear a huge conference table. Representatives of the 22 nation Arab League and the new state of Palestine will be sitting around the table, Israel in the middle of the group. They will all be signing “Peace Agreements,” exchanging Ambassadors, Trade Agreements, Mutual Defense posts, arranging cultural exchanges of people and ideas, the list goes on.

Also at the signing will be representatives of the United Nations and NATO to establish DMZs and, where appropriate, preparing plans to monitor them.

In the center of the table will rest a giant peace purse — $100 billion Peace Prize. It will help support the economy of the new state of Palestine and help Israel to pay for its “peace expenses.” The money will be raised and distributed by an International Commission. This Peace Prize will use the Marshall Plan model established after WWII, a combination of loans and grants for peace.

Religion Scholar Nathan Katz on The Enrichment Hour

(Sunday, February 1, 2015) – Wonderful conversation today with religion scholar Dr. Nathan Katz on THE ENRICHMENT HOUR.   Topics included Hindu-Jewish dialogue; Jain-Jewish dialogue; the Jews of Cochin, India; Tibetan-Jewish dialogue (including an historic dialogue hosted by The Dalai Lama at his palace in Dharamsala, India); an understanding of the benign nature of Judaism and its contributions to the monotheistic religions; spirituality vs. religiosity; and an upcoming documentary on Muslim-Jewish dialogue and relations. That documentary is entitled, “Is There Room at the Inn: Muslims, Jews and the Holyland”.

First viewing will take place at The Jewish Museum of Florida/FIU, Sunday, February 15th in Miami Beach.  The film features a conversation and dialogue among cutting edge Muslim and Jewish scholars asking the question, “What if there were guidelines in both Torah and Quran, and their commentaries, on how to live in peace?”

Starting Tuesday, Feb. 3rd, this interview will be archived at:http://wsradio.com/…/the-enrichment-hour-with-mike-schwager/

NBC News Correspondent Martin Fletcher on Enrichment Hour

My guest for the full hour on The Enrichment Hour for Thursday, January 22nd AND Sunday, January 25th will be NBC News Special Correspondent MARTIN FLETCHER.

Showtime is 1 PM Eastern; 12 Noon Central; 11 AM Mountain; and 10 AM Pacific. To listen, go to: www.WSRadio(dot)com, then click on STUDIO B/Live. Show will also be archived on WSRadio starting Tuesday, Jan. 27th.

Martin Fletcher is an author and former NBC News’ Middle East correspondent and Tel Aviv Bureau chief. He left NBC News after 32 years to work on his fourth book (and second novel). He returned to NBC in 2010 as a freelance Special Correspondent. He also reports for PBS Weekend Newshour.

Born in London, he graduated from the University of Bradford in 1970. He worked as a French and German interpreter for the Common Market. He began his career as a television news programming writer for VisNews in the UK in 1970. He joined the BBC, writing on the main evening news program, the 9 O’Clock News, until returning to Visnews after teaching himself to be a news cameraman. After four years in Belgium, Israel, and Rhodesia he joined NBC News.

He started with NBC News as a cameraman in 1977 in South Africa; he began his Tel Aviv assignment as network correspondent in 1982. He added Bureau Chief to his duties in 1996.

He has received five Emmy awards for his work on the first Palestinian uprising, the second Palestinian uprising, Rwanda, Kosovo, and trauma medicine in Israel. He has received numerous other awards including the television Pulitzer, the duPont from Columbia University, five Overseas Press Club awards, several Edward R. Murrow awards, a Hugo gold medal for a documentary on Israel which he shared with other NBC staffers, and an award from the Royal Society of Television in Britain.

He is the author of “Breaking News,” published in New York by St. Martin’s Press in 2008. It has received universal recognition as one of the best books ever on the work of a foreign correspondent. His second book, “Walking Israel: A Personal Search for the Soul of a Nation,” was published in October, 2010 and won the American National Jewish Book Award. His first novel, “The List,” published in 2011, was selected as the One Book One Jewish Community book of the year . His second novel, a Holocaust survivors’ novel, “Jacob’s Oath,” was released in October 2013.  He has a new book, “War Reporter: A Novel,” coming out in the Fall.

Martin lost family in the Holocaust.

“Enrichment Hour” for Sunday, Sept. 21st

THE ENRICHMENT HOUR for Sunday, September 21st on www.WSRadio.com(at 1 PM Eastern, 10 AM Pacific, 12 Noon Central and 11 AM Mountain [click on STUDIO B/Live at designated hour]) – my guest in the first half hour is Robyn L. Reynolds, author of “Let Them Know…That I Am Here.” This is a remarkable story of life after death, demonstrated with beautiful spirit photography from around the world. It is also a story of the preciousness and meaning of life, brought to Robyn through the loss of an only child. For more information on Robyn, visit “robynlreynolds(dot)com” and “thetravelingsoulpress(dot)com”.

My guest in the second half hour is renowned speaker and author Bob Lenz, author of “Dignity Revolution: Standing Up for the Values of Every Person.” It is co-authored with award-winning educator, Deborah Tackmann. “Dignity Revolution” is a culmination of Lenz’s three decades of leading assemblies in over 3000 public schools on the issues of bullying, self-harm, suicide and substance abuse. Since 1982, Lenz has reached an estimated four million youth in the U.S. and around the world. Bob Lenz says he hopes the book will begin a national movement among middle and high school students.

“If this book does one thing, I hope it will teach people how to stop judging others by how they look or what they can or cannot do, but instead, see each individual as someone that needs love and deserves respect,” says Bob. For more information on “Dignity Revolution,” visit: www.dignityrevolutionpledge(dot)com. For more information on Bob Lenz, visit: www.LifePromotions(dot)com.

To contact Mike Schwager, e-mail me at: moschwager@aol.com.

Defending Reverence for Life as an Abiding Principle for Humanity

by Mike Schwager

[Published by The Huffington Post, September 9, 2014]

One of the saddest recent images seen in a long time was the video of a truckload of several hundred young men of the Shiite faith being transported to a field, where they were shot and killed. Just prior to their execution, many, appearing to be teenagers and adolescents, were on their knees begging for their lives. It was heartbreaking to watch. And then…piles of bodies.

To witness young boys and men, just starting out, to have their lives brutally extinguished in this way, was almost beyond comprehension.

And then another heart-wrenching image — to view the photo of a boy and his mother of the Yazidi religion, having just jumped into the cargo hold of a plane, escaping the threat of oncoming terrorists — and to see the face of the terrified crying boy and the look on his mother’s face as she beheld her son, each not only afraid for their own lives, but perhaps even moreso, of the life of their beloved.

As the Yazidis were hiding out on a mountaintop, and before food and water were brought to them, there were the distressing images of young women and girls lying on the ground, starving, crying out with fear from the pain that malnourishment and severe thirst can bring. Somehow, these images evoked for me a haunting image I shall never forget: that of a terrified young mother and her children huddled on a dirt floor, with others, awaiting execution by a Nazi shooting squad at the infamous Babi Yar, the ravine in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. There, on September 29th and 30th 1941, 33,771 Jews were killed in a single operation, the largest single mass killing in the history of the Holocaust up until that date.

To become aware of man’s inhumanity to man as we witness mass shootings and beheadings now by radical extremists in Iraq and Syria or to be aware of the atrocities of the past, whether it was at the hands of the Nazis, or in places like Rwanda or Cambodia, or the suffering of Africans on slave ships en route to involuntary servitude, is to make one acutely conscious of the dark side and tyranny of our species when Mind operates without Heart — and living beings are so completely objectified and dehumanized, that words like empathy, or kindness, orfeelings simply do not register with the perpetrators.

As we seek to understand the reasons for such cruelty of humans against humans, or rather those who have bought into the notion that those they exterminate are not humans, and as the Nazis were prone to say, “untermenschen” (lower than human) — the possible “explanations” are myriad in number. They include anger and rage; feelings of worthlessness, or loss of identity or pride or purpose in life; or hopelessness; or economic hardship or chronic poverty; or futility.

The artificial “remedy” for all these conditions tragically result in blame and projection of one’s resentment onto others – others who are seen as different — others who are objectified into “things” and “not people.” Consequently, there is no contact with the “other” as individual person – but the hatred, which is really a deep self-hatred and self-disgust — gets projected onto the “collective other” — the other ethnicity, the other religion, the other politics.

The dimensionless survival mind, the negative ego, feels threatened; and so extinguishing the perceived enemy seems by this mind to be the only solution. There is no room for words like humanity, or heart, or empathy — it is simply “us versus them” — and “them” becomes consigned as “not human, not life, but anti-life.” Out of the desperation the perpetrators feel, there is no desire or willingness to understand another and work together to solve problems, but rather to act quickly and ruthlessly to wipe out the enemy — the “enemy” who is in truth no one more or less than a fellow human struggling and dealing with life’s complexities as everyone else.

One day, in a sweep of the Jewish section of Dortmund, Germany, the Nazis dragged people out of their homes, to deliver them by truck to trains headed for places like Auschwitz and Treblinka. My father’s mother, my grandmother, and her four children, were among those apprehended; and in a vain effort to save her children, this diminutive-in-size but hugely brave woman was bayoneted and killed by her perpetrators in the street. I will never forget the anguish my father felt over the years as he mourned for his mother, and the way in which her life came to a brutal and terrible end. To the Nazis, she and millions like her — hardworking, God-fearing, loving people — had lost their status of personhood. They had been objectified into “untermenschen” — along with one of the most tragic episodes in human history.

Ironically, we see in history the capacity of those who seek to gain control, power and dominance by justifying their acts of dehumanization as religiosity in the name of God. But this is not religion, or any kind of spirituality that speaks to most people’s understanding of the purpose of religion — to teach and foster unconditional love, reverence for life, brotherhood/sisterhood and kindness on the Earth. All of the world’s great wisdom religions, Christianity, Islam (Sunni, Shia and Sufi), Judaism, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Native American spirituality, and the Shamanic traditions, stood and stand for these great values. But those who seek to imprison others in the trap of their own ideology while exercising disrespect for life are no friends of humanity – or the Earth.

As the great humanitarian, theologian and philosopher Albert Schweitzer has enunciated in his view of Reverence for Life, respect for the life of others becomes the highest principle and the defining purpose of humanity.

A great document, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, inspired by the American Declaration of Independence, embodies the sanctity of life and the human rights of all peoples, individually and collectively. The Lebanese philosopher and diplomat Charles Malik called it “an international document of the first order of importance.” Eleanor Roosevelt stated it “may well become the international Magna Carta of all men everywhere.” Pope John Paul II called it “one of the highest expressions of the human conscience of our time.”

The UDHR has become the basis for much international law. The first six of its Articles state:
• All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
• Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
• Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
• No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
• No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
• Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

We owe it to ourselves, our ancestors and our posterity, that the principles enunciated in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the fundamental spiritual principle of Reverence for Life, be upheld and honored everywhere, and for all future generations. For the sake of humanity. For the sake of Freedom. For the sake of human creativity and potential. For the sake of Life on Earth.

Mike Schwager is a speech writer, publicist and media interview coach. He contributes to The Huffington Post on spiritual and humanitarian themes. He is also host of the Internet radio show, “The Enrichment Hour” on WSRadio(dot)com, and editor of www.Enrichment(dot)com, and www.EnrichOurWorld(dot)net. His media relations sites are at: www.mediamavens(dot)com, and www.TVtraining(dot)tv. Mike can be reached via e-mail at: moschwager@aol(dot)com.

 

Arab Spring and the Israeli enemy

by

ABDULATEEF AL-MULHIM

Published — Saturday 6 October 2012 in Arab News

[NOTE:  This article is being posted on EnrichOurWorld because its author is an Arab and Muslim who sees a greater benefit for peace between Israel and the Palestinians than ongoing conflict.  Mr. Al-Mulhim is courageous, and we need such courage  to be able to move to the next level – a level that offers hope to both Palestinians and Israelis. – Editor].

Thirty-nine years ago, on Oct. 6, 1973, the third major war between the Arabs and Israel broke out. The war lasted only 20 days. The two sides were engaged in two other major wars, in 1948 and 1967. 

The 1967 War lasted only six days. But, these three wars were not the only Arab-Israel confrontations. From the period of 1948 and to this day many confrontations have taken place. Some of them were small clashes and many of them were full-scale battles, but there were no major wars apart from the ones mentioned above.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is the most complicated conflict the world ever experienced. On the anniversary of the 1973 War between the Arab and the Israelis, many people in the Arab world are beginning to ask many questions about the past, present and the future with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The questions now are: What was the real cost of these wars to the Arab world and its people. And the harder question that no Arab national wants to ask is: What was the real cost for not recognizing Israel in 1948 and why didn’t the Arab states spend their assets on education, health care and the infrastructures instead of wars? But, the hardest question that no Arab national wants to hear is whether Israel is the real enemy of the Arab world and the Arab people.

I decided to write this article after I saw photos and reports about a starving child in Yemen, a burned ancient Aleppo souk in Syria, the under developed Sinai in Egypt, car bombs in Iraq and the destroyed buildings in Libya. The photos and the reports were shown on the Al-Arabiya network, which is the most watched and respected news outlet in the Middle East. 

The common thing among all what I saw is that the destruction and the atrocities are not done by an outside enemy. The starvation, the killings and the destruction in these Arab countries are done by the same hands that are supposed to protect and build the unity of these countries and safeguard the people of these countries. So, the question now is that who is the real enemy of the Arab world?

The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of innocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list. The real enemies of the Arab world are corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people. 

These dictators’ atrocities against their own people are far worse than all the full-scale Arab-Israeli wars. 

In the past, we have talked about why some Israeli soldiers attack and mistreat Palestinians. Also, we saw Israeli planes and tanks attack various Arab countries. But, do these attacks match the current atrocities being committed by some Arab states against their own people. 

In Syria, the atrocities are beyond anybody’s imaginations? And, isn’t the Iraqis are the ones who are destroying their own country? Wasn’t it Tunisia’s dictator who was able to steal 13 billion dollars from the poor Tunisians? And how can a child starve in Yemen if their land is the most fertile land in the world? Why would Iraqi brains leave Iraq in a country that makes 110 billion dollars from oil export? Why do the Lebanese fail to govern one of the tiniest countries in the world? And what made the Arab states start sinking into chaos?

On May 14, 1948 the state of Israel was declared. And just one day after that, on May 15, 1948 the Arabs declared war on Israel to get back Palestine. The war ended on March 10, 1949. It lasted for nine months, three weeks and two days. The Arabs lost the war and called this war Nakbah (catastrophic war). The Arabs gained nothing and thousands of Palestinians became refugees.

And on 1967, the Arabs led by Egypt under the rule of Gamal Abdul Nasser, went in war with Israel and lost more Palestinian land and made more Palestinian refugees who are now on the mercy of the countries that host them. The Arabs called this war Naksah (upset). The Arabs never admitted defeat in both wars and the Palestinian cause got more complicated. And now, with the never ending Arab Spring, the Arab world has no time for the Palestinians refugees or Palestinian cause, because many Arabs are refugees themselves and under constant attacks from their own forces. Syrians are leaving their own country, not because of the Israeli planes dropping bombs on them. It is the Syrian Air Force which is dropping the bombs. And now, Iraqi Arab Muslims, most intelligent brains, are leaving Iraq for the est. In Yemen, the world’s saddest human tragedy play is being written by the Yemenis. In Egypt, the people in Sinai are forgotten. 

Finally, if many of the Arab states are in such disarray, then what happened to the Arabs’ sworn enemy (Israel)? Israel now has the most advanced research facilities, top universities and advanced infrastructure. Many Arabs don’t know that the life expectancy of the Palestinians living in Israel is far longer than many Arab states and they enjoy far better political and social freedom than many of their Arab brothers.

Even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World. Wasn’t one of the judges who sent a former Israeli president to jail is an Israeli-Palestinian? 

The Arab Spring showed the world that the Palestinians are happier and in better situation than their Arab brothers who fought to liberate them from the Israelis. Now, it is time to stop the hatred and wars and start to create better living conditions for the future Arab generations.

— This article is exclusive to Arab News.
almulhimnavy@hotmail.com

What I Believe

by
Mike Schwager

I believe that through deep and honest dialogue and communication between cultures, races, genders, religions and ideas, mutual understanding and the discovery of our common humanity and aspirations can and will be found. This is a dialogue that cannot be realized only through the intellect, but even more important through the feelings of the Heart.

I believe that through an honoring of the richness of our diversity, and our diverse views and values, a pathway to our fundamental unity can also be revealed. Through an appreciation and acknowledgement of our common struggles and needs, as viewed by one towards another, a heartfelt empathy and appreciation of the vulnerability and preciousness of each of us may be achieved.

In all of this is a vision that sees the potentiality of a convergence of all peoples towards a higher plane of unity, love, creative possibility and fulfillment; and the realization of a next step for humanity on Earth.

Under no illusions, it is understood that there lurks within each of us the brewing of the survival mind – the possibility to become overwhelmed by fear, to descend into intolerance, cruelty, excessive greed, violence and limiting, destructive beliefs. I believe, however, that sometimes through the process of human struggle, compassion can emerge when people are encouraged to see themselves in others, and others in themselves. I also believe that through the power inherent in each of us to choose and to focus our consciousness on the light rather than the darkness, that the seeds of kindness, love, hope, understanding, freedom with responsibility, and encouragement can be planted and sewn.

I choose to believe that genuine creative and spiritual fulfillment is each person’s birthright, and that constructive self-empowerment can take the place of hopelessness, despair, suppression and repression. I choose to believe that a poverty of consciousness and materiality can be supplanted with a consciousness of life’s sweetness, of its preciousness, abundance, creative potential and unlimited possibility.

I choose to believe that a new light of promise and hope can be enkindled, illuminating the way for a truly brighter and better future for everyone.

We’ve come to a fragile and vulnerable point in our evolution. Technology can be a tool for great and unparalleled achievement, communication, comfort and convenience, but without the guiding hand of wisdom and compassion, it can be the instrument for terrible destruction and suffering.

Let us choose technology, as here, to advance our heartfelt and soulful connection as humans. Let us be open to listening to one another. Let us be open to agreeing to disagree. Let us agree to soften our hardened positionalities of “us versus them.” And as humans, let us pledge to enter into communication – dialogue – recognizing we are members of one human family, on one planet Earth. When we do this, let us be open to seeing that the outcome of this coming together is that we have much more in common than apart.

The Enrichment Hour for Sunday, May 11th

ANITA FINLAY AND LISA A. BERKLEY GUESTS ON THE ENRICHMENT HOUR FOR SUNDAY, MAY 11TH

The broad topic on this edition of The Enrichment Hour is women’s activism and women’s leadership – from two very talented guests who walk somewhat different but possibly convergent trails.

My guest in the first half hour of The Enrichment Hour is author, activist, blogger and actor AnitaFinlay. Author of Dirty Words on Clean Skin an explosive book about the continuing war on women, Anita chronicles Hillary Clinton’s sexism-plagued run in the 2008 presidential election, and the apparent denigration of women that continues until today. The book has been #1 on Amazon’s Women in Politics books for 16 weeks. And it is on the curriculum of Pasadena City College and a part of the Clinton Presidential Library.

Anita is also a regular commentator on the top-rated Jerry Doyle Show, nationally syndicated to an audience of 8 million listeners per week; and America’s Radio News Network, and she’s a contributor to Epic Times. She is also a very prolific and popular blogger.

As an actor and native New Yorker living in Los Angeles, Anita Finlay has worked in television for over 20 years, recurring and guest starring on such network series as Perception, Castle, Brothers and Sisers, 24, Hannah Montan, Boston Legal, Gilmore Girls, Six Feet Under, Vanished (the list is too long to cite here). She spent seven years on “The Young and the Restless” as Dr. Nora Thompson and starred in a number of feature films and made-for-television movies.

The list goes on and you’ll find the rest at her website, AnitaFinlay.com.

Anita lives in Los Angeles with her husband David and their two children, Caruso and Midge.

My guest in the second half hour is Lisa A. Berkley, founder and president of PeaceLeadsUs, an organization that maintains, strengthens and builds peace through advisory and educational services and consultation, programs, workshops, seminars and trainings with the public, private and not-for-profit sectors). Lisa is also the president of WIIS West, the west coast chapter of a national organization called WIIS, Women in International Security, the only global network actively advancing women’s leadership at all stages of their careers in the international peace and security field. Their website is at www.wiiswest.org.

Lisa is presently earning her PhD in the Leadership and Change Program at Antioch University, with a unique focus on “peace leadership and changing consciousness.” She is a member of the International Leadership Association, International Society of Political Psychology, and the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation. Ms. Berkley is co-authoring a book chapter entitled “Female Leadership for Peace and Human Security: A Case Study of Israel/Palestine,” to be included in the book currently titled, “Women as Global Leaders, Volume III”which will be published by the International Leadership Association next year, in 2015.

Now her credentials and experience are too long to cite here, but I will add that from 1999 through 2003, while living in Israel/Palestine during the Second Intifada, Berkley pioneered a variety of peace-building education and training programs. As the Founding Director of “Joy of Life,” she developed a groundbreaking series of original programs for the development of self-awareness and personal empowerment in the midst of conflict. This experience still informs her work today.

Dedicated to further peace and security in the world, she integrates psychological understanding, emotional and spiritual intelligences, and cultural relevancy into the public, private and not-for-profits sectors of society. And her work has been written about in a number of Israel/Palestine, UK and US publications with worldwide distribution.

Lisa’s native language is English. She is fluent in French and Italian, has an intermediate level of spoken and written Hebrew, and a working knowledge of Arabic.

——————

The Enrichment Hour airs every Sunday on the Internet radio network, WSRadio.com – from 1-2 PM Eastern; 10-11 AM Pacific; 12-1 PM Central; and 11-12 PM Mountain. On the home page listeners click on STUDIO/B Live. The show is also archived, starting Tuesday, by clicking on “Lifestyles” in the right column, then scrolling down to “The Enrichment Hour with Mike Schwager”.

We can also be accessed via SedonaTalkRadio – www.SedonaTalkRadio (dot) com/the-enrichment-hour.

 

On Communication

by Mike Schwager

There is nothing more important than communication – communication between two partners in marriage or relationship; communication between friends and neighbors; communication between religions; communication between cultures and ethnicities; communication between genders; communication between people of different sexual orientations. The key to effective communication is first, to recognize and respect each other’s humanness and, for that reason, possible complexity. That establishes the common ground between all humans. The second key is to agree to disagree. The third key is to agree to listen to each other, and feel, as much as possible, the other’s feelings – including the other’s pain. The fourth key is to strive to empathize and understand each other. When these four keys become the essential criteria in an encounter between humans, then what hopefully happens is that the “truth” can be found in the midst of this encounter. What hopefully happens is that the rigidity of the mind can be relaxed, the attachment to hard-held positionalities can be lessened – and the Heart can open. The purpose of effective communication, of dialogue, is for love to prevail.

Why We Need To Transform Television

by Mike Schwager

Television has not yet actualized its potential nor realized its responsibilty to humankind. The most powerful medium on the planet, the medium that has the greatest impact on individual and collective consciousness, has fallen far short of its ability to enrich and empower our lives. If someone would argue that this is not television’s mission, I would then ask them to please explain what they think constitutes that mission. Surely, it must be more than purpose as a description of function. We all know that television transmits programming; and that this programming is generally intended to entertain or inform.

To paraphrase MacLuhan, it’s not just that the medium is the message. The medium and its messages are also powerful imprinters on the human psyche. In this context, the medium of television not only transmits programming; it is also, by its very nature, in the business of programming minds. It is, therefore, a decisive activator and determinant in the condition of human consciousness and human behavior.

To be sure, thanks to PBS and programs like Nova and Moyers and Company, news shows like Fareed Zakaria on CNN, or CBS Sunday Morning, not everything on tv today is vapid. But the suppositions of network television programmers leave much to be desired.

Many have already looked at the relationship of violent programming and violence in our society. How many have looked at the tendency of too many programs to anesthetize its viewers with vapid material that merely fills time slots and tranquilizes people into deadened passivity instead of engaging, enlivening and opening their minds and hearts?

How many have seen a relationship between the increasing number of shows dedicated to what I call “negative creation” – to tabloid mania and the lowering of consciousness? Just what is it that programmers and producers think they’re doing? Do they think that these kinds of magazine and talk shows, characterized as they are by violence, vicious gossip and the baser side of human behavior, bring out the best in people?

It’s much clearer that these programs depress our spirits and undermine and violate our deep yearning to rise above separatism, greed, selfishness, vulgarity and self-hatred. ” (more…)

On The Importance of Dialogue

By Mike Schwager

This blog is dedicated to dialogue between people from different points-of-view, different politics, different religions, different cultures, different genders, different ethnicities.  In order for two people to enter into meaningful dialogue, there are several essential criteria that must be agreed-to in advance:

(1) The acceptance of each person’s inalienable right of self-expression.

(2) The acceptance of each person’s humanness and the notion that his or her journey may have been unique, perhaps complex, and that whatever values are held, reflect that person’s view-of-life based on personal experience, the influence of parents, teachers, religion and clergy, mentors, group affiliations and artists (e.g., authors, writers, filmmakers, etc.). 

(3) The acceptance by each side that he or she agrees to disagree. 

(4) The acceptance by each side that the other person has a right to life and dignity – and that each person may have been involved in a struggle of some kind, or may yet be involved in a struggle. (A struggle may be the tension that occurs between a human’s innate love of and need for freedom versus inherited negative belief systems that suppress natural spiritual energies). 

(5) The acceptance that life has value, and every person’s life has value.

(6) The acceptance that people who disagree with each other do not have to hate each other, and to acknowledge that most people, irrespective of their differences, share the holding of certain common values:  to cherish the air we breathe, to love and protect our children, to earn a decent living, to contribute and serve others in some way. 

(7) To agree to listen to the other side’s point-of-view and to hold as much empathy as possible for how that person “got there.”

(8) To agree to search for common ground, on what we can agree upon in spite of our differences.

(9) To commit to future dialogue and the possibility of mutual understanding.

(10)To honor the notion that diversity, and an open mind – not closed-mindedness, or a fixed, autocratic, inflexible view – are the wellspring of a healthy, growing society.

(11) To share the value – or be willing to share the value – that human happiness and individual fulfillment, the desire to serve and the desire to create, and reverence for ALL life, are optimal values and outcomes for every person.

 

CAN COMMUNICATIONS SERVE THE HUMAN HEART?

By Mike Schwager

[Editor’s note:  this commentary was also published in The Huffington Post].

When I lived in Manhattan,  I was once taking my regular morning four-block walk from my Prince Street apartment to my Soho office.   But this walk was different. En route, as I looked up at a beautiful blue sky filled with just a few floating, cottony-like cumulous clouds, I was captured by another view in the sky. What I “saw” — or what my creative imagination saw — was a parade of people from different ethnicities, cultures, religions, ideologies and genders circumnavigating the contours of the planet Earth. People were coalescing into pairs, seeking their opposites, to engage in dialogue. Their purpose seemed to be to find the common ground between one another, but also to discover something new that could be learned from the other. Then I heard, “The time of convergence is here.”

This was a momentary, fleeting but powerful impression that had suddenly been thrust upon me. Before it left me, what also came through was the sense that the actualization of human potential was vital for the next step in creative evolution to occur. Each person had a birthright — and that was to fulfill his or her unique talent. We needed to acknowledge and help our children along in this realization.

The energy of that moment was intense — and it led to Enrichment (dot) com, and this blog, EnrichOurWorld (dot) net, dedicated to advancing dialogue between people, and to supporting the fulfillment of every person’s unique mission and talent in the world.

And yet, since this vision is real insofar as it has been placed in some humans’ hearts, is there a shadow side still operative? (more…)

MUSLIMS AND JEWS TO STAND UP FOR EACH OTHER!!

Muslims and Jews Vow To Stand Up For Each Other During Upcoming 6th Annual Weekend of Twinning

from Religious News Service
sasson-tiram-121113-010

Rabbi Marc Schneier Gives Copy of SONS OF ABRAHAM to SHIMON PERES

At a time of increased Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, Muslims and Jews will be coming together in cities across America and around the world during the upcoming 6th Annual International Weekend of Twinning, November 15-17, to pledge to be there for each other if either community is victimized by hate crimes or incitement.

According to Rabbi Marc Schneier, President of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, a New York-based not-for–profit agency that sponsors the Weekend of Twinning, “Dialogue is an important first step in building ties of communication and cooperation between Muslims and Jews, but it is not enough. Whenever Jews or Muslims are targets of bigotry anywhere in the world, members of the two communities should stand together against both Islamophobia and anti-Semitism . We must truly become our brothers and sisters keepers.”

The Weekend of Twinning is an annual event sponsored by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (www.ffeu.org) and held every November and December. It is based on synagogues and mosques and Jewish and Muslim organizations in cities across North America, Europe and around the world forming one-on-one partnerships and holding joint programs on the same weekend. The official Weekend of Twinning is November 15-17, but kickoff events have already taken place in place in synagogues and mosques across France as well as in Wellington, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia, where local Muslims and Jews cooked and distributed food to people who lost their homes in recent fires near that city. Twinning events will continue until mid-December.

For more information about Weekend of Twinning events, please visit: http://www.ffeu.org/twinning.html

– See more at: http://pressreleases.religionnews.com/2013/11/13/muslims-jews-vow-stand-upcoming-6th-annual-weekend-twinning/#sthash.wTH7iamg.dpuf

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AS A BRIDGE BUILDER

By Mike Schwager

One sacred document all Jews, Muslims and Christians share as a set of primary values is The Ten Commandments. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is one of the most important commandments. Underlying that commandment is revealed the principle of Love – God’s declaration of Love for all humanity and Life.

Honoring this commandment is honoring God. Isn’t that a sufficient basis for respectful dialogue between Jews, Muslims and Christians? And since that value is inherent in the other great wisdom religions – Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism – do we not have the basis for meaningful communication and building the better world between all the peoples of the world?

JEWISH-MUSLIM RELATIONS BEING EXPLORED IN MIAMI BEACH

Jewish-Muslim relations to be examined in FIU series

(from God Online by Jim Davis)

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Religion scholar Nathan Katz of Florida International University helped organize the upcoming series on Jewish-Muslim relations. (Photo: James D. Davis)

Jews and Muslims have been at each others’ throats forever — or so it might seem from blogs and headlines. But a look at history would show otherwise.

“How Islam Saved the Jews,” in fact, is the title of a discussion this weekend planned for the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, on Miami Beach. The free forum is the first of a three-part series on Jewish-Muslim relations planned by Florida International University.

“This is so crucial right now,” says Nathan Katz, an organizer of the series and academic director of the museum. “If we can show people that their God wants them to get along with the other side, it will be a big step.”

Amanullah De Sondy, one of the participants in the FIU series, agrees.

“There is a lot of mistrust and fear between Jews and Muslims for a lot of religious, cultural and geopolitical reasons,” says De Sondy, an assistant professor of Islamic studies at the University of Miami. “But Jews and Muslims have more in common than Jews and Christians.” (more…)