meditation and spiritual growth

The human spirit is free, unfettered and timeless.

With the manifestation of space/time/causation, a multitude of individual egocentric souls are born.

Each soul has the ability to transcend the influence of relativity and experience the bliss of true freedom. Free spirit became individualized, so that it can experience itself.

Every day a new child is born of the Earth. The forces of nature animate the new body and offer it strength, love, and the prospect of a fruitful life.

Each new life wakes to the reality of our relative world. Already overshadowed by the illusion of space/time/causation, that free spirit now begins to perceive and define itself within the confines of individual body and mind.

Parents extend their love, a gentle caress, and protective benevolence. A child comes into the world via parents, but they are independent souls. They are in the protective custody of parents for a time, but they are free and not owned by any man or women.

Additional layers of enslavement are quickly placed on the newborn youngster. Cultural, race, gender and religious values are imposed. Training based on what is perceived to be right, and what is perceived to be wrong, as defined by respective societies, takes place. Each child is taught how to act, think, and evaluate the world.

Layer upon layer of mental constructs and restrictions have taken away the newborns freedom.

The sun shines everywhere the same. It does not hold back its life giving warmth and light. It is humanity that compartmentalizes behavior and action. We create and label as good or bad. Nature makes no such distinction.

After the enslavement of the mind by its identification with concepts and sensations, other human beings in position of power – impose their will upon people.

We are not free because other people want to control us and tell us what to think. They do this out of their own insecurity, limited vision, and impending sense of loss. They are not enlightened.

Big business with its money, Religion (Church, Mosque and Temple), and the Military constantly vie for domination of the masses of people. There are also a multitude of lesser players whose aim is to subjugate and bend your will to theirs.

So today we find that there is a cost for freedom and the attainment of full Human Rights. Until the consciousness of human beings transcend the binding influence of ego; there will be strife, suffering, and the continued suppression of people.

Human Rights for all …

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The Four Freedoms as presented by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941, during his State of the Union address:

1. Freedom of speech and expression 2. Freedom of worship 3. Freedom from want

4. Freedom from fear

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From the January 20, 1961, United States Presidential Address by John Fitzgerald Kennedy:

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

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From Nelson Mandela’s inaugural speech in Pretoria, South Africa, on May 10, 1994:

The time for the healing of the wounds has come.

The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.

The time to build is upon us.

We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.

We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace.

We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

As a token of its commitment to the renewal of our country,the new Interim Government of National Unity will, as a matter of urgency, address the issue of amnesty for various categories of our people who are currently serving terms of imprisonment.

We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free.

Their dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward.

We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa, to lead our country out of the valley of darkness.

We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.

We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.

Let there be justice for all.

Let there be peace for all.

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.

Let freedom reign.

The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!

God bless Africa!

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Form a speech given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, Austria, June 1993:

Human Rights and Universal Responsibility

“Our world is becoming smaller and ever more interdependent with the rapid growth in population and increasing contact between people and governments. In this light, it is important to reassess the rights and responsibilities of individuals, peoples and nations in relation to each other and to the planet as a whole. This World Conference of organizations and governments concerned about the rights and freedoms of people throughout the world reflects the appreciation of our interdependence. No matter what country or continent we come from we are all basically the same human beings. We have the common human needs and concerns. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering regardless of our race, religion, sex or political status. Human beings, indeed all sentient beings, have the right to pursue happiness and live in peace and in freedom. As free human beings we can use our unique intelligence to try to understand ourselves and our world. But if we are prevented from using our creative potential, we are deprived of one of the basic characteristics of a human being. It is very often the most gifted, dedicated and creative members of our society who become victims of human rights abuses. Thus the political, social, cultural and economic developments of a society are obstructed by the violations of human rights. Therefore, the protection of these rights and freedoms are of immense importance both for the individuals affected and for the development of the society as a whole.

“It is my belief that the lack of understanding of the true cause of happiness is the principal reason why people inflict suffering on others. Some people think that causing pain to others may lead to their own happiness or that their own happiness is of such importance that the pain of others is of no significance. But this is clearly short-sighted. No one truly benefits from causing harm to another being. Whatever immediate advantage is gained at the expense of someone else is short-lived. In the long run causing others misery and infringing upon their peace and happiness creates anxiety, fear and suspicion for oneself.

“The key to creating a better and more peaceful world is the development of love and compassion for others. This naturally means we must develop concern for our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than we are. In this respect, the non-governmental organisations have a key role to play. You not only create awareness for the need to respect the rights of all human beings, but also give the victims of human rights violations hope for a better future. When I travelled to Europe for the first time in 1973, I talked about the increasing interdependence of the world and the need to develop a sense of universal responsibility. We need to think in global terms because the effects of one nation’s actions are felt far beyond its borders. The acceptance of universally binding standards of human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants of Human Rights is essential in today’s shrinking world. Respect for fundamental human rights should not remain an ideal to be achieved but a requisite foundation for every human society

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David Cameron’s speech on the European court of human rights – Wednesday 25 January 2012

UK Commitment to Human Rights

First, I want to make something clear. Human rights is a cause that runs deep in the British heart and long in British history. In the thirteenth century, the Magna Carta set down specific rights for citizens, including the right to freedom from unlawful detention. In the seventeenth century, the Petition of Right gave new authority to Parliament; and the Bill of Rights set limits on the power of the monarchy.

By the eighteenth century it was said that: “this spirit of liberty is so deeply implanted in our constitution, and rooted in our very soil, that a slave the moment he lands in England, falls under the protection of the laws, and with regard to all natural rights becomes instantly a freeman.”

It was that same spirit that led to the abolition of slavery … that drove the battle against tyranny in two World Wars … and that inspired Winston Churchill to promise that the end of the “world struggle” would see the “enthronement of human rights”.

As he put it, victory in that war was the “victory of an ideal founded on the right of the common man, on the dignity of the human being, and on the conception of the State as the servant, not the master, of its people.” These beliefs have animated the British people for centuries – and they animate us today.

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Vision of Humanity has published their 2012 Global Peace Index. Here is their ranking by country:

From most peaceful to least …

1. Iceland (the best) 2. Denmark 3. New Zealand 4 Canada 5. Japan 6. Austria 6. Ireland 8. Slovenia 9. Finland 10. Switzerland 11. Belgium 12. Qatar 13. Czech Republic 14. Sweden 15. Germany 16. Portugal 17. Hungary 18. Norway 19. Bhutan 20. Malaysia 21. Mauritius 22. Australia 23. Singapore 24. Poland 25. Spain 26. Slovakia 27. Taiwan 28. Netherlands 29. United Kingdom 30. Chile 31. Botswana 32. Romania 33. Uruguay 34. Vietnam 35. Croatia 36. Costa Rica 37. Laos 38. Italy 39. Bulgaria 40. France 41. Estonia 42. South Korea 43. Lithuania 44. Argentina 45. Latvia 46. United Arab Emirates 47. Kuwait 48. Mozambique 49. Namibia 50. Ghana 51. Zambia 52. Sierra Leone 53. Lesotho 54. Morocco 55. Tanzania 56. Burkina Faso 56. Djibouti 58. Mongolia 59. Oman 60. Malawi 61. Panama 62. Jordan 63. Indonesia 64. Serbia 65. Herzegovina 66. Albania 67. Moldova 68. Macedonia (FYR) 69. Guyana 70. Cuba 71. Ukraine 72. Tunisia 73. Cyprus 74. Gambia 75. Gabon 76. Paraguay 77. Greece 78. Senegal 79. Peru 80. Nepal 81. Montenegro 81. Nicaragua 83. Brazil 84. Bolivia 85. Ecuador 85. Swaziland 87. Equatorial Guinea 88. United States of America 89. China 90. Dominican Republic 91. Bangladesh 92. Guinea 93. Papua New Guinea 94. Trinidad and Tobago 95. Angola 95. Guinea-Bissau 97. Cameroon 98. Uganda 99. Madagascar 100. Tajikistan 101. Liberia 102. Mali 103. Sri Lanka 104. Republic of Congo 105. Kazakhstan 106. Saudi Arabia 107. Haiti 108. Cambodia 109. Belarus 110. Uzbekistan 111. Egypt 111. El Salvador 113. Jamaica 114. Benin 115. Armenia 116. Niger 117. Turkmenistan 118. Bahrain 119. Rwanda 120. Kenya 121. Algeria 122. Eritrea 123. Venezuela 124. Guatemala 125. Mauritania 126. Thailand 127. South Africa 128. Iran 129. Honduras 130. Turkey 131. Kyrgyz Republic 132. Azerbaijan 133. Philippines 134. Cote d’Ivoire 135. Mexico 136. Lebanon 137. Ethiopia 138. Burundi 139. Myanmar 140. Zimbabwe 141. Georgia 142. India 143. Yemen 144. Colombia 145. Chad 146. Nigeria 147. Libya 148. Syria 149. Pakistan 150. Israel 151. Central African Republic 152. North Korea 153. Russia 154. Democratic Republic of the Congo 155. Iraq 156. Sudan 157. Afghanistan

158. Somalia (the worst)

Reference:
www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi-data/

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Amnesty International keeps track of Human Rights around the world. Their report by Region and Country can be found at …

http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/countries

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United States Commission on International Religious Freedom – has found the following …

United States Commission On International Religious Freedom
Annual Report 2011

Countries of Particular Concern – CPC Recommended for CPC Designation Watch List Countries – 

Where serious violations of religious freedom are engaged in or tolerated by the government.

Burma China Eritrea Iran North Korea Saudi Arabia Sudan

Uzbekistan

Burma China Eritrea Iran North Korea Saudi Arabia Sudan Uzbekistan Egypt Iraq Nigeria Pakistan Turkmenistan

Vietnam

Afghanistan Belarus Cuba India Indonesia Laos Russia Somalia Tajikistan Turkey

Venezuela

Reference:
http://www.uscirf.gov/reports-and-briefs/annual-report/3594-2011-annual-report.html

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Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s flagship publication lists …

Political and Civil Liberties Status
Free – 89 Countries

Andorra
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Botswana
Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Cape Verde
Chile
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guyana
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Kiribati
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Micronesia
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Namibia
Nauru
Netherlands
New Zealand
Northern Cyprus
Norway
Palau
Panama
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico (USA)
Romania
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent & Grenadines
Samoa
San Marino
São Tomé and Príncipe
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Suriname
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan (ROC)
Trinidad and Tobago
Tuvalu
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay
Vanuatu

Political and Civil Liberties Status
Partly Free – 64 Countries

Abkhazia (Georgia)
Albania
Armenia
Bangladesh
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Central African Republic
Colombia
Comoros
East Timor
Ecuador
Fiji
Georgia
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Haiti
Honduras
Hong Kong (China)
Kashmir (India)
Kenya
Kosovo
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Macedonia
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mexico
Moldova
Morocco
Mozambique
Nepal
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Philippines
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Solomon Islands
Somaliland (Somalia)
Sri Lanka
Tanzania
Thailand
Togo
Tonga
Tunisia
Turkey
Uganda
Ukraine
Venezuela
Zambia

Political and Civil Liberties Status
Not Free – 56 Countries

Afghanistan
Algeria
Angola
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Belarus
Brunei
Burma (Myanmar)
Cambodia
Cameroon
Chad
China (PRC)
Congo, Dem. Rep. of
Congo, Republic of
Côte d’Ivoire
Cuba
Djibouti
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Gabon
Gambia
Gaza Strip (PNA)
Iran
Iraq
Jordan
Kashmir (Pakistan)
Kazakhstan
Laos
Libya
Mauritania
Nagorno-Karabakh -Armenia/Azerbaijan)
North Korea
Oman
Qatar
Russia
Rwanda
Saudi Arabia
Somalia
South Ossetia – (Georgia)
South Sudan
Sudan
Swaziland
Syria
Tajikistan
Tibet  (China)
Transnistria (Moldova)
Turkmenistan
United Arab Emirates
Uzbekistan
Vietnam
West Bank (PNA)
Western Sahara – (Morocco)
Yemen
Zimbabwe

Reference:
http://www.freedomhouse.org/reports

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Whether born rich or poor, healthy or sick, black or white, tall or short; everyone is valued and divine.

Bowing to cause and affect we weave complex life patterns. Some are beneficial, while others are not. Guard the freedoms that you already have, and work to extend them to others.

Nothing is sacrosanct, so challenge hypocrisy and dogma. Do not be afraid to question. As a caged bird takes flight when the door is open, so to open your heart and mind to all possibilities.

Liberty, freedom and full human rights are your birthright.

Strive in this lifetime to unfold your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual freedom.

Eternal bliss consciousness is the home of all that is and is not.

Since you can think and entertain thoughts, you can meditate. Locate the source of freedom at the seat of thought.

You have always been free, but the clouds of space/time awareness shroud that realization. Meditate every day to lift the fog of unknowing, and reclaim free unbounded eternal consciousness.