• 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

Will Tuttle’s “World Peace Diet” on Enrichment Hour

On THE ENRICHMENT HOUR on  Sunday, November 16, my guest for the full hour was Dr. Will Tuttle, a visionary educator, who has spoken widely throughout North America and worldwide. A vegan since 1980, Will is the author of the #1 Amazon best-selling book The World Peace Diet and is a recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award and the Empty Cages Award. He is the editor of the newly-released book, Circles of Compassion: Connecting Issues of Justice.

Dr. Tuttle discussed the main ideas in his best-selling book, The World Peace Diet, which has been called one of the most important books of the 21st century. It provides the foundation of a new society based on the truth of the interconnectedness of all life. Dr. Tuttle will make explicit the invisible connections between our culture, our food, and the source of our broad range of problems—and the way to a positive transformation in our individual and collective lives. Anyone wishing to understand the big picture of our culture and why we have the unyielding dilemmas we face, and how we can solve them, will be fascinated by these provocative, challenging, and ultimately inspiring ideas.

To listen to interview at WSRadio archives, go to:  http://wsradio.com/111614-world-peace-diet-truth-interconnectedness-life

Websites:  http://worldpeacediet.orghttp://worldpeacediet.com,www.circleofcompassion.org, and http://willtuttle.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.

 

Walking Down A Tree-Lined Lane with Pope Francis

[As published in Huffington Post]:

by Mike Schwager

Your Holiness — and I say that in deference to the exalted position you hold among millions of Catholics around the world — I am upset with your utterance that reinforces the sanctity of marriage and children in juxtaposition to the diminution of animals as pets.

Understand — I am not upset with you as a standard bearer for the Church’s position on the sanctity of holy family. What displeases me, and disappoints me, is a devaluing of love for our unconditionally loving animal friends. Do you not realize the impact of your words upon so many people on planet Earth?

This is particularly ironic, your Holiness, since you bear the name of one who was in communion with the pure hearts of animals — and who animals befriended because they sensed his own pure heart.

As we walk down this tree-lined path together, Francis, can you feel the trees reaching out to us with their love? What’s that you say? “Yes, Michael, I can.”

I’m happy for that, Francis, for it shows me you are in tune with the vibration of nature’s creation, and that says to me that you have reverence and feeling for all life, which includes human life but does not exclude the other beings who emanate out of God’s pure Love. Neither you nor your Church have stood up for the animals. Don’t you think it’s time?

Do you know the unconditional lovingness of a dog, your Holiness, or a cat, or a horse, or a dolphin?

Do you know the tragedy of a system in America and most other countries around the world that disposes of these creatures in shelters dedicated to killing, rather than adopting? If you’ve experienced their innate lovingness, and intelligence, and great hearts — can you not stand up for them too?

Do you not know how they contribute to the loving wholesomeness of human homes — whether the occupants are married with children, or not? Have you not seen how they heal the hearts of the lonely in nursing homes and among the sick in hospitals? Are you not aware of their bravery and heroism in standing with our soldiers on the fields of war?

They are truly, your Holiness, God’s gifts to humanity and the world. They are of inestimable value in the beauty of their own inherent beingness and right to life — and in the quality of life of humans, who so often suffer with such great complexity of mind. The companionship of these loving souls makes a huge difference in the life of humans. Your namesake, St. Francis, knew this.

And can your heart extend further, your Holiness, to speaking out against the suffering of the farm animals? The huge suffering of the little lambs, and calves, and cows and pigs. And the unspeakable pain the chickens endure, stuffed in cages for life until their execution. Why must we eat them? Why must we torture them until they are slain? When the Bible spoke of our dominion over the animals, surely it isn’t speaking of cruelty towards animals, but responsibility and stewardship. And implicit in stewardship is love and caring. Isn’t that so Francis?

And in the world of entertainment, can you not speak out against the pain of the great whales, who are confined into spaces that cause them terrible emotional and psychological suffering — all for the sake of the entertainment and pleasure of the humans who come to see them, oblivious of what they are enduring?

Last but not least, your Holiness, please speak out against hunting. How can people such as you who are representative for the sanctity of Life — condone the killing of benign and innocent deer, or of noble and immensely intelligent creatures such as elephants?

Francis –your Holiness – I beseech you, and appeal to you — to become a standard bearer for life! Don’t you think that is what the enlightened being whose name you revere — Jesus — would want you to become? Not just a sacred representative of humans, but of the creatures who walk and share this Earth with us?

Ah — it’s a beautiful day today, is it not Francis? Can’t you feel the great trees on this glorious path we walk energetically embracing us? And do you hear the birds singing their hearts out to us, in celebration of our unity with them and all life? Almost as if the Spirit of God embraces us?

“Yes, I can Michael. Yes I can.”

___________________

Mike Schwager is a speech writer, media coach and publicist (www.mediamavens (dot) com, and www.TVtraining (dot) tv). He is also host of The Enrichment Hour on WSRadio (dot) com, and editor of the spiritual blog, www.EnrichOurWorld (dot) net. E-mail: moschwager@aol.com.

Rabbi Yonassan Gershom on Reverence for ALL Life

HONORING ALL LIFE THROUGH A REVOLUTION OF THE HEART

By Mike Schwager

[Editor's note:  a version of this article was also published in The Huffington Post].

EnrichOurWorld is a blog dedicated to Life and the sanctity of Life.  While it’s my desire to keep the news and commentaries here positive and hopeful, sometimes one needs to address violations of Life which if unaddressed, signal a tacit endorsement of the abuse and cruelty inflicted upon living beings.  And history teaches us time and time again that silence condones horrific actions.

The chemical genocide committed against Syrian children is one recent example; and it was utterly necessary to expose this atrocity, condemn it and take the violators to task.  It’s unclear whether the latter has yet occurred.

The holocausts in the 20th Century against Jews, Cambodians and Rwandans – in the millions – were exposed, but too little too late.  The world did not reel against such catastrophic actions in time to save lives. Those stains will never be stamped out of history – and if there is such a thing as redemption to such acts, it is in ensuring that they NEVER occur again!  But that requires the need to keep our sensitivities and antennas high; and our Hearts wide open.

And as we approach the one year anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre of innocent children, we have made little progress in protecting our schools from this kind of tragedy; and we have made virtually no progress in the modification of our gun laws and gun screening procedures.  This can and must change, if willing hearts, irrespective of their side of the gun issue, move to act.   Congress – and in particular the Republican majority in the House (who have children and grandchildren too) must be courageous and support our children!

It is not only human life that must be protected and safeguarded from cruelty and abuse.  It is animal life – indeed, it is Life across the board.

When do we as humans get that ALL life is sacred?  All life is intelligent.  All life is feeling. All sentient lives are members of the Family of Life – all beings are intricate vital parts of the Web of Life.  All Life is a manifestation of Creation. All Life is ONE.

Today, two photos circulated on Facebook that brought tears and sadness to my eyes.  The first was a picture of a tender little baby doe lying alongside the body of her just hunted-down mother.  The second was of a wealthy family posing in front of a dead elephant they had just shot on safari in Africa.  They were laughing and smiling behind their “trophy”. 

These images are true.  They are evidences of the capacity of people to treat animals with contempt and cruelty – and what is worse, having fun in the process.  Both images speak to the cruelty of hunting for fun.  An abomination in the extreme.

Then there are images that few of us want to see.  One is a photo I recently saw of little lambs, marked on their bodies for slaughter, desperately trying to climb over a fence separating them from their mothers, who in turn are clamoring to reunite with their babies, with futility.

And there is the image of a little calf, walking live over churning blades cutting off its hooves, prior to execution.  As gruesome an image as I’ve ever seen.  Or the image of a pig, its side pierced and in utter agony, lying on its belly, trying vainly to stand up, and crying bitterly as it gets carried away to slaughter on a conveyor belt.

When I go to supermarket, and see the outcomes of these violations of Life, wrapped in  packages in the meat section, I wonder how many of the consumers of those animals comprehend the pain and agony those animals endured to wind up on their dining room tables?

How many of those consumers understand the PAIN they are ingesting into THEIR systems?  And how many of us get the relationship between that pain and the pain we as humans have the capacity to inflict on the world – towards other humans and towards animals?

And it’s not just farm animals, as cruel and tragic as are their fates.  There are also the shelter animals, the wonderful unconditionally loving and intelligent dogs and cats who add so much meaning to our lives in so many homes.  Millions of them – many of them healthy and adoptable – are killed each year in the so-called shelters across America.  Murdered may be a better word.  This is a tragedy of epic proportions.  So many of these wonderful creatures’ lives can be saved, with better leadership committed to no-kill, and more creative and intense marketing communications reaching the communities in which they’re sheltered.

Yet another tragedy we inflict upon animals is the trapping of the great “killer” whales and dolphins – highly intelligent beings – brought against their wills to places like Sea World – for the entertainment of humans – and confined into small spaces that suppress their natural energies and need for freedom of movement, causing them great psychological suffering and harm.  This has to stop!

There needs to be a Revolution in this country and around the world.  A Revolution of the Heart, bursting out of our own awareness and consciousness, that reveals to us the preciousness of life – ALL life – human and animal. That invokes the Love that does reside within our Hearts and emanates from our Creator. 

Without this sensitivity and love, our future is bleak.  But with a heightened commitment to the love of Life, there is hope for humanity and the world.  There is redemption.