I Must Stretch Myself In Space And Time

Douglas Bass with a giant sriracha bottle. I must stretch myself in space and time.

As I continue my engagement with the New Message from God, a feeling is growing in me.

I must stretch myself in space and time

What do I mean? I mean it just doesn’t feel good enough for me anymore for one part of humanity to succeed at the expense of another. I love my country. I want it to succeed. But I would take no joy in its success if it involved the failure of another nation. Is there any victory that isn’t a funeral? I dream a world where every nation has a memorial to the enemy combatants and civilians killed in its wars.

The future is where the children live. I must stretch myself in space and time.

I must stretch myself in space and time. George Bernard Shaw wrote, “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.” What if the words “whole community” were changed to “humanity,” or “the human family” or “the human race” or “my people?” That’s how I’m starting to feel.

Iroquois confederacy wampum belt. I must stretch myself in space and time.

I must stretch myself in space and time. What do I mean? I mean it just doesn’t feel good enough for me anymore to think of some future event and say, “Well, it’s not like I’m going to be around to see it.” I feel like taking a page from the Great Law of the Iroquois and considering the impact of something on humanity seven generations from now. I consider this as 140 years. The Iroquois realized that this was tricky. In their words, it required having “skin as thick as the bark of a pine.” I’m not sure I have that yet. All I know is that I’m working on it.

Brooklyn Bridge 1877 I must stretch myself in space and time.

I must stretch myself in space and time. One part of this awareness or perspective is to think of the world of seven generations ago. What lessons were learned (or not learned)? Unlike some people, I believe that every so often, humanity learns from history.

I must stretch myself in space and time. What do I mean? I mean I have to adjust my awareness to think a little bit more about the success of the human family. I mean I have to adjust my awareness to think further ahead than I’m used to thinking. Can I help my people succeed 140 years from now? All I know is that I must try.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

And Yet I Swear This Oath, America Will Be

langston-hughes-typewriter And yet I swear this oath, America will be

I offer this poem by the 20th-century American poet Langston Hughes, as a birthday gift for the 240th birthday of the United States of America.

I was introduced to the poem “Let America Be America Again” by then-US Senator John Kerry, who used the title of the poem as a presidential campaign tagline.

And yet I swear this oath, America will be

Even the accusing voice in this poem, the voice accusing America of failing to deliver on its promise, speaks of a dream “so strong, so brave, so true,” that it is worthy of one’s life, one’s fortune and one’s sacred honor.

And yet I swear this oath, America will be. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think of this poem as a shorter version of Freedom’s Plow.

And yet I swear this oath, America will be. The New Message from God teaches that freedom is rare, both in the universe and in our world. And yet, that’s where we’re going.

All I know is that when I heard the line “And yet I swear this oath, America will be,” everything inside me cried out and stood up and saluted.

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Please Tell Us, What Is The Song In Your Soul?

Alaska-Double-Rainbow Please tell us, what is the song in your soul?

Students of the New Message from God have been told on countless occasions that they must live in the present moment and prepare for the future all at once. We have been told on countless occasions that nature is merciless to the unprepared. It has come to my attention that part of that preparation is having a song for the journey.

Please tell us, what is the song in your soul?

“I got my troubles and woe but sure as I know that Jordan will roll
I’ll get along as long as a song stays deep in my soul!”

The song with that lyric has been recorded by numerous artists from the 1920’s to the present day. Why do we need a song? Because we might not get where we’re going for a long time. We need that song to remind us where we’re going, especially when it looks like we might not ever get there. The 20th-century American poet Langston Hughes wrote:

“A long time ago,
An enslaved people heading toward freedom
Made up a song:
Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!”

Please tell us, what is the song in your soul? I am sharing this because I heard something at the 2016 Messenger’s Vigil of New Message from God that I’ve never heard before. It was something that touched me deeply. Marshall Vian Summers was asked what it means to serve God’s plan. It’s as if he was asked “Please tell us, what is the song in your soul?” It’s as if he was asked “What is it like at the end of your rainbow? What will it be like if the efforts you are exerting succeed and bear fruit?” I find this a very interesting question, because people don’t ask that question of Marshall very often. Furthermore, I believe Marshall doesn’t volunteer this very often, because not very many people are ready to hear this. Marshall was asked “What does it mean to serve God’s plan?” He replied:

“God’s plan is to raise humanity up so that it may survive the Great Waves of Change, so that it may be an exemplary race in the universe at the level of Knowledge.”

Please tell us, what is the song in your soul? The Great Waves of Change is the term the New Message from God uses to describe a series of global, ongoing disruptions to the world as we know it, wrenching change that no one will be able to run away or hide from. It will take many saints and/or strong contributors for humanity to successfully navigate the difficult times ahead. There are many teachings in the New Message from God about humanity emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. Even with the current assessment of humanity as a reckless, adolescent, destructive race, there is a song in Marshall’s soul where one day, someone from another world will say “One day, my people will be as advanced in Knowledge, the deeper intelligence that God has placed in every individual, as the people of Earth.”

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Of Such I Dream, My World!

Young Langston Hughes. Of such I dream, my world!This is the second poem by the 20th-century American poet Langston Hughes to appear here. Freedom’s Plow is the first. I’m not sure how this poem escaped my notice until now. It was written in 1926, the year the collection “The Weary Blues” was published. I dream a unified humanity. Little did I know that Langston Hughes was dreaming it too!

Of such I dream, my world!

This poem sings with such hope for a poem written just a few short years after the end of World War I. It was written one year after the death of Rainer Maria Rilke. Rilke wrote a letter in 1917 saying “I’m not living my own life…I feel refuted, abandoned, and above all threatened by a world ready to dissolve entire in such senseless disorder.” Though hope was crushed in World War I, hope springs forth once more in the poem of Langston Hughes.

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!

The New Message from God teaches that in our time, all wars reduce to conflicts over resources. Access to resources and control over resources. Langston Hughes envisioned a world where mankind shares the bounties of the earth. Of such I dream, my world!

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

What Is Your Freedom Good For?

Juneteenth. What is your freedom good for?Today, the descendants of American slaves, and friends of freedom commemorate the landing of Major General Gordon Granger at Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over, and that the enslaved were now free. American poet Langston Hughes wrote:

With John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, Negroes died.
John Brown was hung.
Before the Civil War, days were dark,
And nobody knew for sure
When freedom would triumph
“Or if it would,” thought some.
But others knew it had to triumph.
In those dark days of slavery,
Guarding in their hearts the seed of freedom,
The slaves made up a song:
Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!
That song meant just what it said: Hold On!
Freedom will come!
Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!
Out of war it came, bloody and terrible!
But it came! Some there were, as always,
Who doubted that the war would end right,
That the slaves would be free,
Or that the union would stand,
But now we know how it all came out.
Out of the darkest days for people and a nation,
We know now how it came out.
There was light when the battle clouds rolled away.
There was a great wooded land,
And men united as a nation.

What is your freedom good for?

But what is freedom for? Jesus taught his disciples, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 25:25-28, New International Version)

The 16th-century German Christian Martin Luther seems to me to echo that vibration in his treatise “On the Freedom of the Christian,” when he writes

“A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to every one.”

I consider Steps to Knowledge to confirm, in its own way, the truth of the words of Jesus, and the truth expressed by Martin Luther. The word “freedom” is first mentioned in Step 52, “I am free to find the source of my Knowledge.” The word “freedom” appears 16 times in three different steps between Step 52 and Step 93. It appears 13 times in Step 94, “My freedom is to find my purpose.” The word “purpose” is one of the major themes of Steps to Knowledge. The word “purpose” appears 29 times in 16 different steps between Step 12 and Step 93. It first appears in a step in Step 71, “I am here to serve a greater purpose.”

I consider Step 94 to be watering the seed sown in Step 52:

“What value can freedom possibly have except to enable you to find your purpose and to fulfill it? Without purpose, freedom is merely the right to be chaotic, the right to live without external restraint. But without external restraint, you will merely act out the harshness of your internal restraint. Is this an improvement? Overall it is not an improvement, though it can lead to opportunities for self-discovery.”

In studying Steps to Knowledge, we are getting free to be our true selves, true selves which are not apart from life. We are getting free to find our purpose. Will we succeed? All I know is that we’re working on it.

What is your freedom good for?

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Freedom’s Plow by Langston Hughes

This poem is my way of celebrating the 237th birthday of the United States of America.

This poem is a deep, warm, cleansing shower for the soul of any American who despairs for the future of the country.

This is the Langston Hughes poem that every school child in America should be made to memorize and recite. Don’t get me wrong, “I, Too, Sing America” is a great poem, expressing some great thoughts and feelings in just a few words, but this poem could remove so much poison from so many people if it were read and studied by American children.

I feel like I’ve made a contribution to America today, just by reading this poem. I will sleep well, tonight.

When a man starts out with nothing,
When a man starts out with his hands
Empty, but clean,
When a man starts to build a world,
He starts first with himself
And the faith that is in his heart-
The strength there,
The will there to build.

First in the heart is the dream-
Then the mind starts seeking a way.
His eyes look out on the world,
On the great wooded world,
On the rich soil of the world,
On the rivers of the world.

The eyes see there materials for building,
See the difficulties, too, and the obstacles.
The mind seeks a way to overcome these obstacles.
The hand seeks tools to cut the wood,
To till the soil, and harness the power of the waters.
Then the hand seeks other hands to help,
A community of hands to help-
Thus the dream becomes not one man’s dream alone,
But a community dream.
Not my dream alone, but our dream.
Not my world alone,
But your world and my world,
Belonging to all the hands who build.

A long time ago, but not too long ago,
Ships came from across the sea
Bringing the Pilgrims and prayer-makers,
Adventurers and booty seekers,
Free men and indentured servants,
Slave men and slave masters, all new-
To a new world, America!

With billowing sails the galleons came
Bringing men and dreams, women and dreams.
In little bands together,
Heart reaching out to heart,
Hand reaching out to hand,
They began to build our land.
Some were free hands
Seeking a greater freedom,
Some were indentured hands
Hoping to find their freedom,
Some were slave hands
Guarding in their hearts the seed of freedom,
But the word was there always:
Freedom.

Down into the earth went the plow
In the free hands and the slave hands,
In indentured hands and adventurous hands,
Turning the rich soil went the plow in many hands
That planted and harvested the food that fed
And the cotton that clothed America.
Clang against the trees went the ax into many hands
That hewed and shaped the rooftops of America.
Splash into the rivers and the seas went the boat-hulls
That moved and transported America.
Crack went the whips that drove the horses
Across the plains of America.
Free hands and slave hands,
Indentured hands, adventurous hands,
White hands and black hands
Held the plow handles,
Ax handles, hammer handles,
Launched the boats and whipped the horses
That fed and housed and moved America.
Thus together through labor,
All these hands made America.

Labor! Out of labor came villages
And the towns that grew cities.
Labor! Out of labor came the rowboats
And the sailboats and the steamboats,
Came the wagons, and the coaches,
Covered wagons, stage coaches,
Out of labor came the factories,
Came the foundries, came the railroads.
Came the marts and markets, shops and stores,
Came the mighty products moulded, manufactured,
Sold in shops, piled in warehouses,
Shipped the wide world over:
Out of labor-white hands and black hands-
Came the dream, the strength, the will,
And the way to build America.
Now it is Me here, and You there.
Now it’s Manhattan, Chicago,
Seattle, New Orleans,
Boston and El Paso-
Now it’s the U.S.A.

Thomas Jefferson

A long time ago, but not too long ago, a man said:
ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL–
ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR
WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS–
AMONG THESE LIFE, LIBERTY
AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.
His name was Jefferson. There were slaves then,
But in their hearts the slaves believed him, too,
And silently took for granted
That what he said was also meant for them.

Abraham LincolnIt was a long time ago,
But not so long ago at that, Lincoln said:
NO MAN IS GOOD ENOUGH
TO GOVERN ANOTHER MAN
WITHOUT THAT OTHER’S CONSENT.
There were slaves then, too,
But in their hearts the slaves knew
What he said must be meant for every human being-
Else it had no meaning for anyone.

Frederick Douglass

Then a man said:
BETTER TO DIE FREE
THAN TO LIVE SLAVES
He was a colored man who had been a slave
But had run away to freedom.
And the slaves knew
What Frederick Douglass said was true.

With John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, Negroes died.
John Brown was hung.
Before the Civil War, days were dark,
And nobody knew for sure
When freedom would triumph
“Or if it would,” thought some.
But others new it had to triumph.
In those dark days of slavery,
Guarding in their hearts the seed of freedom,
The slaves made up a song:
Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!
That song meant just what it said: Hold On!
Freedom will come!
Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!
Out of war it came, bloody and terrible!
But it came!
Some there were, as always,
Who doubted that the war would end right,
That the slaves would be free,
Or that the union would stand,
But now we know how it all came out.
Out of the darkest days for people and a nation,
We know now how it came out.
There was light when the battle clouds rolled away.
There was a great wooded land,
And men united as a nation.

America is a dream.
The poet says it was promises.
The people say it is promises-that will come true.
The people do not always say things out loud,
Nor write them down on paper.
The people often hold
Great thoughts in their deepest hearts
And sometimes only blunderingly express them,
Haltingly and stumblingly say them,
And faultily put them into practice.
The people do not always understand each other.
But there is, somewhere there,
Always the trying to understand,
And the trying to say,
“You are a man. Together we are building our land.”

America!
Land created in common,
Dream nourished in common,
Keep your hand on the plow! Hold on!
If the house is not yet finished,
Don’t be discouraged, builder!
If the fight is not yet won,
Don’t be weary, soldier!
The plan and the pattern is here,
Woven from the beginning
Into the warp and woof of America:
ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.
NO MAN IS GOOD ENOUGH
TO GOVERN ANOTHER MAN
WITHOUT HIS CONSENT.
BETTER DIE FREE,
THAN TO LIVE SLAVES.
Who said those things? Americans!
Who owns those words? America!
Who is America? You, me!
We are America!
To the enemy who would conquer us from without,
We say, NO!
To the enemy who would divide
And conquer us from within,
We say, NO!
FREEDOM!
BROTHERHOOD!
DEMOCRACY!
To all the enemies of these great words:
We say, NO!

A long time ago,
An enslaved people heading toward freedom
Made up a song:
Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!
The plow plowed a new furrow
Across the field of history.
Into that furrow the freedom seed was dropped.
From that seed a tree grew, is growing, will ever grow.
That tree is for everybody,
For all America, for all the world.
May its branches spread and shelter grow
Until all races and all peoples know its shade.
KEEP YOUR HAND ON THE PLOW! HOLD ON!

Moanalua Gardens, Hawaii, USA

This poem can be found in a number of Langston Hughes poetry books, including The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.