Tag - William T. Hathaway

Then There’s Only One Choice

By Wolfgang Borchert

Last November marked the 70th anniversary of the death of Wolfgang Borchert, a young German writer who was seriously wounded in World War II then imprisoned for resistance activities. Physically destroyed, he lived only two years after the war. During that time he wrote antiwar literature that is widely read in Germany but little known in the USA, where it is currently most needed. His play about a traumatized veteran, DRAUSSEN VOR DER TÜR (THE MAN OUTSIDE), brought him literary fame after his death. “Dann gibt es nur eins!” (“Then There’s Only One Choice”) is the last poem he wrote before his death in 1947 at the age of 26. It shows a perceptive foresight of the inevitability of global destruction unless the people of the world refuse to serve the military.

[ad name=”AdSense Responsive”]

Translated from the German by William T. Hathaway

You. Man at the machine in the factory. When they tell you tomorrow to stop making pots and pans and instead make helmets and machine guns, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Woman in the store, woman in the office. When they tell you tomorrow to fill grenades and mount telescopic sights on sniper rifles, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Factory owner. When they tell you tomorrow to make gun powder instead of baby powder, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Researcher in the laboratory. When they tell you tomorrow to invent new ways to kill people, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Songwriter in your studio. When they tell you tomorrow not to sing love songs but hate songs, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Doctor in the clinic. When they tell you tomorrow to declare soldiers fit for combat, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Minister in the pulpit. When they tell you tomorrow to bless murder and sanctify war, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Captain of the freighter. When they tell you tomorrow to ship cannons and tanks instead of wheat, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Pilot of the plane. When they tell you tomorrow to drop bombs on cities, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Tailor in your shop. When they tell you tomorrow to make uniforms, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Judge in robes. When they tell you tomorrow to serve on a court-martial, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Railroad worker. When they tell you tomorrow to give the signal to send the troop and munition trains, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Man in the country, man in the city. When they try to recruit you into the military, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO!

You. Mother in Normandy, mother in the Ukraine, you, mother in San Francisco and London, you, on the Yellow River and the Mississippi River, you, mother in Naples and Hamburg and Cairo and Oslo — mothers of all continents, mothers of the world, when they tell you tomorrow to raise children to be nurses for field hospitals and soldiers for new battles, then there’s only one choice:

Say NO! Mothers, say NO!

Because if you don’t say NO, if YOU don’t say no, mothers, then:

then:

In the noisy steamy dusty port cities the great ships will groan into silence and float like cadavers of drowned mammoths, slapping sluggishly against the lonely docks while algae, seaweed and mussels grow on the once roaring gleaming hulls that now lie decomposing in a watery cemetery stinking of squishy decayed fish.

the streetcars will become dull senseless glass-eyed beetles lying crudely dented and peeling next to skeletons of tangled wires and rusted tracks, behind dilapidated sheds with holes in the roofs, in desolate, cratered streets —

a mud-gray, porridge-thick, leaden stillness will roll over everything, devouring, growing spreading over schools and colleges and theaters, over sport fields and playgrounds, gruesome and greedy, unstoppable —

the juicy sun-ripened grapes will rot on their broken arbors, the green rice will wither on the parched earth, the potatoes will freeze in the abandoned fields, and the cows will raise their death-stiffened legs like upside-down milking stools towards heaven —

in the research centers new medicines discovered by great doctors will turn to fungus and mold —

in the kitchens, dining rooms and cellars, in the cold-storage lockers and warehouses, the last sacks of flour, the last jars of strawberries, pumpkins and cherry juice will spoil — the bread under the overturned tables and smashed plates will turn green, and the rancid butter will reek, the grain will lie limp as a fallen army in the fields next to rusting plows, and the smokestacks of the pounding factories will fall and smash and crumble to be covered with eternal grass —

then the last person, with lacerated bowels and polluted lungs, answerless and alone under a poisonous glaring sun and wobbling sky, will stagger back and forth between gaping mass graves and massive concrete idols of the deserted cities, the last person, scrawny, cursing, accusing, insane — and his terrible cry: WHY? will die unheard, fading across the plains, whispering through the shattered ruins, brushing against the rubble of churches and bunkers, sinking into pools of blood, the last answerless animal cry of the last human animal —

all this will happen, tomorrow, maybe tomorrow, maybe tonight, maybe tonight, if — if —

if YOU don’t say NO!

 

For more about Wolfgang Borchert: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Borchert.

About the translator:

William T. Hathaway is a Special Forces combat veteran now working to overthrow the empire he previously served. He is the author of Radical Peace: People Refusing War, which presents the true stories of activists who have moved beyond demonstrations and petitions into direct action, defying the government’s laws and impeding its ability to kill. Noam Chomsky called it, “A book that captures such complexities and depths of human existence, even apart from the immediate message.” His new book, Lila, The Revolutionary, is a fable for adults about an eight-year-old girl who sparks a world revolution for peace and social justice. Chapters are posted on www.amazon.com/dp/1897455844. A selection of his writing is available at www.peacewriter.org.

Read more...

Treating PTSD with Transcendental Meditation

by William T. Hathaway

We live in traumatic times. The shock waves from wars, terror attacks, and spree shootings reverberate through our society and impact us all. For the direct victims and their family and friends this can be life shattering. Many of them suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a debilitating condition that can last for decades unless properly treated.

[ad name=”AdSense Responsive”]

Soldiers are highly affected. Over half a million US troops deployed since 2001 suffer from PTSD. It cripples their functioning and places them at great risk for violent and self-destructive behavior including alcoholism or drug abuse, depression, anxiety, emotional numbness, family abuse, employment problems, and suicide. More US soldiers and veterans from the Iraq War have died from suicide than from combat. 6,500 soldiers and vets take their own lives every year.

Fortunately, treatments are now available, and some of them can also protect us from the condition before trauma strikes. They can build up an inner immune system that keeps the stress from devastating us.

One approach that has been shown to be highly effective is Transcendental Meditation (TM). Research on its trauma-healing effects began in the 1980s with Vietnam War veterans who had been suffering from PTSD for over a decade. After three months of TM 70% of them were free of clinical symptoms (Journal of Counseling and Development, 1985). In 2011 the journal Military Medicine reported a 40-55% reduction in PTSD in current war veterans, including reduced depression, flashbacks, and painful memories. Ten studies published in professional journals have shown TM rapidly heals PTSD.

Most of the government-sponsored research has been on soldiers and veterans, but massive numbers of civilians, particularly women, also suffer from PTSD. With this group TM has also been proven effective. A study on female prisoners and two studies on Congolese war refugees with high levels of symptoms showed that within four months the majority became non-symptomatic. Ninety percent of Congolese war refugees with PTSD became non-symptomatic within 30 days of learning and practicing TM (Journal of Traumatic Stress, April, 2013; February, 2014). The stories of their trauma and recovery are posted at www.ptsdreliefnow.org.

Research also indicates TM can protect us against PTSD before the trauma strikes. It does this by increasing our resilience, the ability to think clearly and act effectively in the midst of stress without being overwhelmed by it and afterwards to quickly recover from the ordeal. It’s a quality we all need now, an inner shield against trauma that defends us in advance from the damage.

A Stanford University study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology reported TM is twice as effective as other meditation or relaxation techniques for decreasing anxiety. Greater resistance to stress was confirmed in studies in Psychosomatic Medicine, Journal of Counseling and Development, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, and International Journal of Neuroscience. For more information and citations on the research: https://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/veterans.html and http://www.ptsdreliefnow.org/the-research.html.

About the author:

William T. Hathaway’s personal story of recovery from trauma as a Special Forces veteran is published at http://www.dmd27.org/hathaway2010.html.

 

Read more...

Yellowstone Park is Wolf Country

By William T. Hathaway

yellowstone wolves

This year marks the 20th anniversary of wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park. From 66 released originally they’ve increased to over 300 and are no longer endangered. That they thrive here is not surprising, for they are creatures of this raw land in a way that we aren’t. Wolves are fitted to this environment, and so to understand them, we have to know the country that nurtures them.

The area from Yellowstone to central Idaho has one of the lowest densities of human population in the United States. Those who do live here are held in thrall by land and weather, too harsh for most of our species. The elements keep us ever on the defensive without even noticing us.

People claim to own this country, but she owns us. Daily she teaches us how small our power is: we are like children clinging to a shaggy bison, helpless riders on a massive beast. We had enough power to exile the wolves, but then the wilderness was no longer whole, the grazing herds became unhealthy, and we had to bring back these culling predators. The banishment was short from their time frame.

The mountains they lope around are the eruption of a force that begins to rise in the Dakotas, gathers momentum as it buckles the prairie into ridges and ravines, then thrusts the earth’s crust into peaks. Humans read time on the land, and it dwarfs us: Rivers cut the earth for millennia, then vanished into the bottoms of their canyons, leaving them lime dry. Glaciers sheared off mountains, scraping them down to flat mesas. Epochs of wind are still gnawing the buttes into knobs of pocked rock. Now it’s time for wolves again. A missing totem, Sunmánituthaka of the Sioux, has been restored, an ancient spirit returned to us.

Their example may help us better to endure the wheel of the seasons here. Weather weighs on us all, refusing to be ignored. Winter lasts half the year, burying the earth in snow. Bears, badgers, and rattlesnakes retreat into hibernation. Wolves just nap in the blizzards, wrapped in their tails. Antelope nudge through the white mantle to graze, watched now by stalking topaz eyes. People creep in line.

As the storms tire, winter yields, then breaks like river ice; sudden blue holes fracture the gray lid into cumulus floes. The mountain runoff swells the streams into roily torrents. The land wakes up slowly, knowing her first flowers will be sacrificed to May snow. Humans are last to thaw.

Spring blows our fences down. Elk huddle in the lee of bluffs as gales curry the earth’s green pelt. Clouds mound together till they darken and break, gashing lightning, spilling hail, drifting purple veils of rain while half the sky stays blue and clear. Wolf whelps nurse in their dens.

The summer sky widens, stretching the land taut across horizons like curing buckskin. The wind winnows pliant grasses, chaps the earth, snaps amaranths and turns them into tumbleweeds bowling across the range till they snag on fences and pile up to build shelter for seedlings. People plow the dirt. Young wolves romp.

The sun scorches through the thin air, driving streams underground and shrinking water holes into puddles beached with alkali. In the dry light, colors fade, sagebrush pales dust green, wheat straw blanches on shimmering hills. Prairie rises from shady coulees to distant ridges of sleeping dinosaurs. Valleys timbered with aspen and pine slope into granite cliffs which soar to snowy crags. Howls chorus above them again in wild polyphony. The land, tough as weathered leather, charges on toward everywhere.

Humans haven’t conquered this country; we haven’t even got a saddle on her; we’re just would-be bison riders holding on however we can. When she stampedes, which is mostly, we cling too tightly to love the ride, but at less than a gallop we can loosen our grip, lift our faces to the wind, and flow with the earth as she rolls beneath us.

While we’re riding, quickly out of the corner of our eye, we can glimpse the wolves running free again. They belong here.

About the author:

William T. Hathaway’s new novel, Lila, the Revolutionary, is the story of an eight-year-old Indian girl who sparks a world revolution for social justice. Chapters are posted at www.amazon.com/dp/1897455844. He was a Fulbright professor of creative writing at universities in Germany, where he currently lives. A selection of his writing is available at www.peacewriter.org.

Read more...

Visit to the Brahmasthan

maharishi mahesh yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

By William T. Hathaway

I recently visited the ashram that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi built at the central point of India, the Brahmasthan. Two thousand Vedic pandits live there, meditating and performing ceremonies.

I’ve been doing Transcendental Meditation for many years and have had wonderful results in my active life — clearer thinking, less stress, more energy — but I’ve had very few experiences while meditating. A couple of times a year I might have a moment when the thoughts thin out enough for me to sense there is a field of silence underlying them. Very rarely I’ve glimpsed a bit of glow coming from that underlying field. I treasure these few moments.

In my first program in the yogic flying hall I felt deep silence as soon as I started meditating. And it didn’t go away as it always had before. It lasted, and it glowed. When I started the sutras, I gradually became aware that the silence had an energy to it, an inner dynamism. As I went on, joy began radiating from it like sunlight.

When I started yogic flying, I could sense this whole field was alive, filled with divine Beings. There was Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh, and others whose names I didn’t know. There was Maharishi, Guru Dev, and Shankara. As I made great leaps, they told me, “We are bringing you up! We are bringing you up!” They were raising me into the air, but like cosmic parents they were also raising me into the full adulthood of higher consciousness. And amazingly enough, as good parents, they loved me.

I could perceive that they weren’t dwelling only in the transcendent but were permeating the whole atmosphere of the Brahmasthan. Then they weren’t just permeating the place but also permeating me. Then they were me. At this, I was totally enveloped in divine love. I was divine love. The unity of creation became a living reality. I had heard this statement before, but now it was no longer abstract. It was me. And this is going on all the time in full glory whether I’m perceiving it or not.

For the next four weeks I didn’t perceive it at all, just my usual mantra and thoughts, sutra and thoughts. Then at the end of the final Vedic chanting ceremony of my visit, I felt a sensation in the area of my heart. It was Maharishi! He was suddenly there, as if he’d just popped in. Then I realized he had been there all along, but I had only now become aware of him, as when a statue is unveiled and you can finally see it. This was no statue though, but a living presence. I remembered the section of the puja that describes the guru as “ever-dwelling in the lotus of my heart.” I could see this wasn’t a figure of speech but a statement of fact. Devotion poured from me to him, and I basked in his approval.

People were leaving the hall, and as I stood up, his presence expanded to become like a hollow tube running from the top of my head to the base of my spine. My awareness was centered inside the tube, and I was perceiving everything from this inner core of silence. This is my Brahmasthan, I suddenly knew. People too have Brahmasthans, a transcendental center out of which activity manifests.

I started walking, but I wasn’t walking. I ate a prasad banana, but I wasn’t eating. Walking was happening and eating was happening, but I wasn’t doing them. I was observing it all like a king on a throne enjoying the activity of my kingdom but not involved in it, totally free within myself. This is delightful, I thought, but what is it?

This is the Self, Maharishi explained. The one great Self that enlivens the universe. You are in the Self now, and that is separate from activity.

That sounds like enlightenment, cosmic consciousness, I thought.

Yes, Maharishi told me. Just a glimpse of what awaits you.

Gradually the glimpse faded, and my real identity became overshadowed by relative activity. Now that I’ve had these experiences, though, I know my deeper reality and I’ll never be the same again.

About the author

William T. Hathaway’s first book, A World of Hurt, won a Rinehart Foundation Award. His new novel, Wellsprings: A Fable of Consciousness, concerns the environmental crisis: www.cosmicegg-books.com/books/wellsprings. He was a Fulbright professor of creative writing at universities in Germany, where he currently lives. A selection of his writing is available at www.peacewriter.org.

 

Read more...