We have come to a dark time in the history of the United States.

Over the years, I have never spoken out one way or the other about politics. This is because Unknowncountry is a home for all close encounter witnesses and everybody interested in the visitors, not just those of one or another political persuasion.

I am not advocating a particular ideology now, either. I hope that I’m wrong about what I think will happen, and that the Trump Administration succeeds in improving the lives of the elderly and relatively poor people who are the core of its rank-and-file supporters. In fact, I hope that it succeeds at every economic level to better our lives.

In my life, the visitors have been consistent about just two things: that we must protect our environment and plan for change; and that we must live out of love, compassion and humility. The most direct lesson I ever had from them was one about humility. I will never forget it. The result was that I have been working toward being a humble man ever since.

My wife Anne brought me a deep understanding of compassion, and I feel that, at this time in our national life, we need to reaffirm our commitment to it. She was not afraid to infuriate people in order to help them see themselves. Her understanding of the gospels ran very deep. She was the one who explained to me what the story of the moneychangers in the Temple meant: by wrecking their tables, Jesus was giving them a chance to see their greed.

I saw her do similar things throughout her life. She lost many a friend because of it, but she didn’t care about that. She was always confident that the soul sees even when the ego does not. But her compassion went much farther. Many a friend received a surprise gift from Anne, that came out of her careful listening to their stories and thinking about their lives. These gifts were designed to open doors, and as often as not, that is exactly what they did.

She was to the core of her soul a teacher. She taught not by saying but by doing. She always thought that compassion was the most difficult part of the spiritual jouney. It’s easy enough to give the man with his hat in his hand a dollar, and not to judge him, but it is much harder to find, for example, how to be compassionate toward one’s own pride or toward the extremely evil.

Compassion is not forgiveness. It is not generosity. It is helping others see. This is how Anne understood it, and how she taught it–not by explaining, but by both demonstrating with her life and using exemplars. 

One of her favorite exemplars was Robert Frost’s poem, "Death of the Hired Man." In it, an unwanted and useless hired man shows up on the farm of a farmer who he had abandoned during the previous haying season. This was a disaster for a farmer at a time when labor is so needed and so scarce, so this man is not all welcoming, to say the least. Over the course of the poem, his wife gently and persistently helps him to find room in his heart for this man who has done him such a great wrong. Each thing she says opens another window into the mystery of compassion.

Anne and I used to enjoy reading poetry together, and this one was often her choice. She would always pause to savor the lines that are the heart of the poem, and also the deepest foundation of a compassionate life:

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

When the wife in the poem says this line, her husband points out that their farm is not the hired man’s home, and even that he has a wealthy brother who would be better fixed to care for him. She argues that the farm is really all the hired man has, because it would humiliate him too much to have to go and stand abject before his far more successful brother, who is a banker.

And you know, what is happening in our country now has made me reflect very much on that line. Every country is the home of those who have to go there, and the United States is no exception. But how, during this dark time, do we remain safe but also keep our door open to those who have no other place to go?

Simply saying no and pushing them aside is not the way. The American Way is to open our arms and help those who find their way to us to learn to live among us and become one of us. And we are good at it. Very good. We must not let those who use fear as a political tool dominate our national life. Instead of slamming our door, we need an intelligent and careful policy that offers those in need a real chance to join us.

In our subscriber area, I have offered a discussion of "Death of a Hired Man" that centers around Anne’s understanding of the poem. I read it just exactly as she used to do, and I hope with some of the insight that she brought to it. Click here if you are a subscriber and would like to listen.

In some ways, I am glad that she is now above what is happening here. Her tears, when they came, were very hard to bear, and I would be seeing them now if she was sitting beside me. But also there was within her a deep determination and a foundation of inner strength that always saw her through, even through the portal of death.

I think that each of us must strive to put aside our hate, our anger and our fear, and do this all the time, always trying to find the love that waits to replace them, the compassion that makes us truly human, and the humility to see ourselves and others as we are. 

Strait is the gate.

34 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing that.
    Thank you for sharing that. It is definitely relevant to me.

  2. Thank you for sharing that.
    Thank you for sharing that. It is definitely relevant to me.

  3. Whitley, here are a few
    Whitley, here are a few thoughts about our current and coming times. The first read comes from the website of Grahamhancock.com (The News Desk). After reading it, my thoughts went back to a quote from Edgar Cayce, “Don’t worry so much where you live but how you live. Make the family of man your family as well.” Edgar Cayce

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/doomsday-prep-for-the-super-rich/

    The paragraph below caught my eye from the article above…..

     (((He fell in love with one of its core principles, “radical self-reliance,” which he takes to mean “happy to help others, but not wanting to require others.” (Among survivalists, or “preppers,” as some call themselves, fema, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, stands for “Foolishly Expecting Meaningful Aid.”) Huffman has calculated that, in the event of a disaster, he would seek out some form of community: “Being around other people is a good thing. I also have this somewhat egotistical view that I’m a pretty good leader. I will probably be in charge, or at least not a slave, when push comes to shove.”)))

    THEN, THERE IS THIS…
    Out of Russia Will Come Hope…….

    Then I went on to read what Cayce had to say about Russia. MIGHT THIS BE TRUE?
    http://www.edgarcayce.org/about-us/blog/blog-posts/out-of-russia-will-come-hope

    1. I like this quote “Don’t
      I like this quote “Don’t worry so much where you live but how you live. Make the family of man your family as well.” Edgar Cayce. Okay. If you welcome them so much with “open arms.” Then invite them to stay with you until they get a job and can move out. I would like to know if ONE person who commented here will take in these refugees to stay with them, but I’ll bet a weeks pay no one will. I believe if they have the legal documents. Then FINE. Come on in and live like Americans. It puzzles me. We’ll fight for our country to the last breath because we have a sense of patriotism. Our country owes us NOTHING and we owe our country EVERYTHING. So, WHY can’t these “refugees” from what I’ve noticed. Are mostly male and don’t look like they are over 35. Fight for theirs?! It kind of reminds me of the Trojan Horse. Odysseus understood the culture of the Trojans and used it against them.

  4. Whitley, here are a few
    Whitley, here are a few thoughts about our current and coming times. The first read comes from the website of Grahamhancock.com (The News Desk). After reading it, my thoughts went back to a quote from Edgar Cayce, “Don’t worry so much where you live but how you live. Make the family of man your family as well.” Edgar Cayce

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/doomsday-prep-for-the-super-rich/

    The paragraph below caught my eye from the article above…..

     (((He fell in love with one of its core principles, “radical self-reliance,” which he takes to mean “happy to help others, but not wanting to require others.” (Among survivalists, or “preppers,” as some call themselves, fema, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, stands for “Foolishly Expecting Meaningful Aid.”) Huffman has calculated that, in the event of a disaster, he would seek out some form of community: “Being around other people is a good thing. I also have this somewhat egotistical view that I’m a pretty good leader. I will probably be in charge, or at least not a slave, when push comes to shove.”)))

    THEN, THERE IS THIS…
    Out of Russia Will Come Hope…….

    Then I went on to read what Cayce had to say about Russia. MIGHT THIS BE TRUE?
    http://www.edgarcayce.org/about-us/blog/blog-posts/out-of-russia-will-come-hope

    1. I like this quote “Don’t
      I like this quote “Don’t worry so much where you live but how you live. Make the family of man your family as well.” Edgar Cayce. Okay. If you welcome them so much with “open arms.” Then invite them to stay with you until they get a job and can move out. I would like to know if ONE person who commented here will take in these refugees to stay with them, but I’ll bet a weeks pay no one will. I believe if they have the legal documents. Then FINE. Come on in and live like Americans. It puzzles me. We’ll fight for our country to the last breath because we have a sense of patriotism. Our country owes us NOTHING and we owe our country EVERYTHING. So, WHY can’t these “refugees” from what I’ve noticed. Are mostly male and don’t look like they are over 35. Fight for theirs?! It kind of reminds me of the Trojan Horse. Odysseus understood the culture of the Trojans and used it against them.

  5. Thank you Whitley and Anne
    Thank you Whitley and Anne –
    I would submit that at least parts of the human race have lost the ability to have compassion – but also empathy – without compassion and without empathy this species will pass at its own hand. I guess my question is: How long will the visitors allow this degradation and madness…

    Peace and Love to you both……. corporeal form is not a barrier to love
    Cindy

  6. Thank you Whitley and Anne
    Thank you Whitley and Anne –
    I would submit that at least parts of the human race have lost the ability to have compassion – but also empathy – without compassion and without empathy this species will pass at its own hand. I guess my question is: How long will the visitors allow this degradation and madness…

    Peace and Love to you both……. corporeal form is not a barrier to love
    Cindy

  7. I think it is easy to give in
    I think it is easy to give in to to our fear and just totally overlook the many good things, and kind people that are out there. People are reaching out, but my experience is that many of the most important things that we do, we do quietly and without fanfare; we simply shine. This is a story from Texas, and we are known down here for our bluster and attitude (and a somewhat fascist, controlling legislature):

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-texas-mosque-idUSKBN15E2QL

    One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain:
    “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.”

  8. I think it is easy to give in
    I think it is easy to give in to to our fear and just totally overlook the many good things, and kind people that are out there. People are reaching out, but my experience is that many of the most important things that we do, we do quietly and without fanfare; we simply shine. This is a story from Texas, and we are known down here for our bluster and attitude (and a somewhat fascist, controlling legislature):

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-texas-mosque-idUSKBN15E2QL

    One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain:
    “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.”

  9. Whitley and Anne’s abilities
    Whitley and Anne’s abilities to funnel what’s most important in life into a few paragraphs or even sentences, and do it in a way that’s useful and not etheric and New Age-y, continues to astound me. It’s like finding an instruction manual for the soul, for anyone to use, on a public coffee table, but only a few bother to thumb through it.

    1. As it says, ‘strait is the
      As it says, ‘strait is the gate.’ As part of your engagement with us, mention the site to others. Mostly, it won’t ‘take’ because they are not ready. That’s fine. Enabling them to see the door that is here is all one can do.

  10. Whitley and Anne’s abilities
    Whitley and Anne’s abilities to funnel what’s most important in life into a few paragraphs or even sentences, and do it in a way that’s useful and not etheric and New Age-y, continues to astound me. It’s like finding an instruction manual for the soul, for anyone to use, on a public coffee table, but only a few bother to thumb through it.

    1. As it says, ‘strait is the
      As it says, ‘strait is the gate.’ As part of your engagement with us, mention the site to others. Mostly, it won’t ‘take’ because they are not ready. That’s fine. Enabling them to see the door that is here is all one can do.

  11. Mending Wall
    Something there

    Mending Wall

    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
    And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
    And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
    The work of hunters is another thing:
    I have come after them and made repair
    Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
    But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
    To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
    No one has seen them made or heard them made,
    But at spring mending-time we find them there.
    I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
    And on a day we meet to walk the line
    And set the wall between us once again.
    We keep the wall between us as we go.
    To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
    And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
    We have to use a spell to make them balance:
    ‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
    We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
    Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
    One on a side. It comes to little more:
    There where it is we do not need the wall:
    He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
    My apple trees will never get across
    And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
    He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
    Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
    If I could put a notion in his head:
    ‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
    Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
    Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offense.
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
    But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
    He said it for himself. I see him there
    Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
    In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
    He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
    He will not go behind his father’s saying,
    And he likes having thought of it so well
    He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

    – Robert Frost

    1. Another of her favorites,
      Another of her favorites, thanks for posting! My girl was unwalled.

  12. Mending Wall
    Something there

    Mending Wall

    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
    And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
    And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
    The work of hunters is another thing:
    I have come after them and made repair
    Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
    But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
    To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
    No one has seen them made or heard them made,
    But at spring mending-time we find them there.
    I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
    And on a day we meet to walk the line
    And set the wall between us once again.
    We keep the wall between us as we go.
    To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
    And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
    We have to use a spell to make them balance:
    ‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
    We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
    Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
    One on a side. It comes to little more:
    There where it is we do not need the wall:
    He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
    My apple trees will never get across
    And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
    He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
    Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
    If I could put a notion in his head:
    ‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
    Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
    Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offense.
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
    But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
    He said it for himself. I see him there
    Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
    In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
    He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
    He will not go behind his father’s saying,
    And he likes having thought of it so well
    He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

    – Robert Frost

    1. Another of her favorites,
      Another of her favorites, thanks for posting! My girl was unwalled.

  13. In this journal entry you
    In this journal entry you have made an important point: not to close our hearts. We must not give in to fear, I agree. But where is the place for legitimate boundaries?

    I came across this poem quite by chance. A coincidence that you would also be writing on a poem by the same author. There are different ways to look at the poem I think. I have not done any deep contemplation, but Frost seems to suggest that there is a place for walls:

    Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
    Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
    Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offense.
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

    Perhaps this is not the place for it; I intended to post it on the message board but was told that it will be offline for a while (I haven’t registered for it yet). I meant to encourage a discussion: something there is that doesn’t love a wall in today’s world.

    I think the neighbor feels somewhere inside, an inarticulate sense that tells him that the wall/a wall is necessary:

    He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

  14. In this journal entry you
    In this journal entry you have made an important point: not to close our hearts. We must not give in to fear, I agree. But where is the place for legitimate boundaries?

    I came across this poem quite by chance. A coincidence that you would also be writing on a poem by the same author. There are different ways to look at the poem I think. I have not done any deep contemplation, but Frost seems to suggest that there is a place for walls:

    Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
    Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
    Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offense.
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

    Perhaps this is not the place for it; I intended to post it on the message board but was told that it will be offline for a while (I haven’t registered for it yet). I meant to encourage a discussion: something there is that doesn’t love a wall in today’s world.

    I think the neighbor feels somewhere inside, an inarticulate sense that tells him that the wall/a wall is necessary:

    He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

  15. @ Journeyman
    You should live

    @ Journeyman
    You should live by that Cayce quote, from the heart. It’s a good one. Vital.
    You can count me as ‘one’ who would take them into my home. They may eat from my fridge. You can keep your weeks pay.
    In fact, you and your family, are welcome too. Fox News, CNN, and talk radio are not allowed in my house though. If you want news, you have to read it. That includes Al Jezeera and JT.
    Our country owes us as much as we do it. It’s a two way street. A ‘sense of patriotism’ is a symptom of blindness. We are all immigrants unless you are Native American. There’s another debt we’ll never pay.
    Are the refugees all males under the age of 35? Mostly, I’ve witnessed families. I think some statistics are in order. I’m sure our kind editor Mr. Frizzell could sling them. He seems an exceptional collator of facts. But maybe, he’s busy with real issues, and a jackass like me is left, of his own volition, to field a tantrum.

  16. @ Journeyman
    You should live

    @ Journeyman
    You should live by that Cayce quote, from the heart. It’s a good one. Vital.
    You can count me as ‘one’ who would take them into my home. They may eat from my fridge. You can keep your weeks pay.
    In fact, you and your family, are welcome too. Fox News, CNN, and talk radio are not allowed in my house though. If you want news, you have to read it. That includes Al Jezeera and JT.
    Our country owes us as much as we do it. It’s a two way street. A ‘sense of patriotism’ is a symptom of blindness. We are all immigrants unless you are Native American. There’s another debt we’ll never pay.
    Are the refugees all males under the age of 35? Mostly, I’ve witnessed families. I think some statistics are in order. I’m sure our kind editor Mr. Frizzell could sling them. He seems an exceptional collator of facts. But maybe, he’s busy with real issues, and a jackass like me is left, of his own volition, to field a tantrum.

  17. You’re welcome Whitley! New
    You’re welcome Whitley! New subscriber but have been with UC for a long time. Been meaning to subscribe for a quite some time and now the stars have aligned.

    Read Transformation and Secret School a long time ago. I think Communion too. I’m glad to be here. Thank you.

  18. You’re welcome Whitley! New
    You’re welcome Whitley! New subscriber but have been with UC for a long time. Been meaning to subscribe for a quite some time and now the stars have aligned.

    Read Transformation and Secret School a long time ago. I think Communion too. I’m glad to be here. Thank you.

  19. @ invisible man,
    maybe

    @ invisible man,
    maybe ‘boundaries’ reflect only the limits of our comfort zones. They are all artificial constructs. Robert Anton Wilson said that the lines we draw with pen and ink are the evolved version of our monkey selves slinging shit at each other. I’ve worked as a ‘waller’ and built many like Frost describes with his neighbor ‘who moves in darkness’. Walls are very temporal and all succumb to the ravages of time. It takes intention to build and rebuild them, even if from the intentionally ignorant.

    I like to view the poem as the higher self of man trying to approach the lower self and ego. It also might be like the visitors saying “It is like you are ignoring us”.

    Wonderful poem. Thank you for posting. I’d never read it so closely.

  20. @ invisible man,
    maybe

    @ invisible man,
    maybe ‘boundaries’ reflect only the limits of our comfort zones. They are all artificial constructs. Robert Anton Wilson said that the lines we draw with pen and ink are the evolved version of our monkey selves slinging shit at each other. I’ve worked as a ‘waller’ and built many like Frost describes with his neighbor ‘who moves in darkness’. Walls are very temporal and all succumb to the ravages of time. It takes intention to build and rebuild them, even if from the intentionally ignorant.

    I like to view the poem as the higher self of man trying to approach the lower self and ego. It also might be like the visitors saying “It is like you are ignoring us”.

    Wonderful poem. Thank you for posting. I’d never read it so closely.

  21. 13 Enter ye in at the strait
    13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

    14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

  22. 13 Enter ye in at the strait
    13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

    14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

  23. @ More Light
    I think Marianne

    @ More Light

    I think Marianne Williamson wrote that locking your door is not the same as locking your heart.

    Poems are difficult and I don’t think that I understand Mending Wall. One can read it differently and one can certainly read it to be against walls. Perhaps that is the more accepted meaning. But it seems to me as I stated above that Frost seems to allow for walls under certain circumstances. My point about what the neighbor is feeling is purely subjective and imaginary. Perhaps somebody familiar with the topic can enlighten us.

    I am using the wall-positive meaning as a counterpoint to Whitley’s point about compassion and acceptance; to stimulate discussion and reflection.

  24. @ More Light
    I think Marianne

    @ More Light

    I think Marianne Williamson wrote that locking your door is not the same as locking your heart.

    Poems are difficult and I don’t think that I understand Mending Wall. One can read it differently and one can certainly read it to be against walls. Perhaps that is the more accepted meaning. But it seems to me as I stated above that Frost seems to allow for walls under certain circumstances. My point about what the neighbor is feeling is purely subjective and imaginary. Perhaps somebody familiar with the topic can enlighten us.

    I am using the wall-positive meaning as a counterpoint to Whitley’s point about compassion and acceptance; to stimulate discussion and reflection.

  25. I became familiar with “The
    I became familiar with “The Mending Wall in College’. The Insructor was quite frusrated with the class due to the lack of response from the class as a whole as to what the author was trying to say. I like it still.
    I am a late comer to this site in that I have had contact with the visitors my entire life. Much more when I was under the age of 12. Again very recently. I called for them and there came as with Whitley: “my old friend fear”. But She was ever so gentle and filled with love, for me. I’m glad to have finally joined with everyone here. Can we talk of group meditation/prayer for our planet? I too am alarmed at the direction that this country is heading full speed ahead!

  26. I became familiar with “The
    I became familiar with “The Mending Wall in College’. The Insructor was quite frusrated with the class due to the lack of response from the class as a whole as to what the author was trying to say. I like it still.
    I am a late comer to this site in that I have had contact with the visitors my entire life. Much more when I was under the age of 12. Again very recently. I called for them and there came as with Whitley: “my old friend fear”. But She was ever so gentle and filled with love, for me. I’m glad to have finally joined with everyone here. Can we talk of group meditation/prayer for our planet? I too am alarmed at the direction that this country is heading full speed ahead!

Comments are closed.