“Mother” Jones – Battler for the Dream

Mother JonesToday, young people probably have never heard of a woman named Mary Harris Jones.

She was famous, or infamous if you will, in her day, all across America as a labor and community organizer.  She lived 93 years, from her birth in County Cork, Ireland in 1937, to her death in Maryland in 1930.

She met a host of terrible events as a young woman.  When she was a young girl, the Great Potato Famine forced her and her family, along with a million other Irish families, to emigrate to North America.  In 1861, she married George E. Jones, a member and organizer of the National Union of Iron Moulders.  In 1867, her husband George and their four children, all under the age of five, were carried off by the yellow fever epidemic.  After that, Mary moved to Chicago to start a dressmaking business, where, four years later, she lost her home, shop, and possessions in the Great Chicago Fire of 1971.

After that, she began organizing strikes, mainly with the United Mine Workers.  This was a turbulent time of confrontation between workers of different industries and industry owners over wages and working hours and conditions.  Management often brought in strike-breakers and militias to break up the unions.

Mother Jones PosterThroughout the rest of her life, Mother Jones, as she came to be known, worked tirelessly on the behalf of workers and their families.  She organized children who were working in mills and mines under bad conditions, and was instrumental in bringing the issue of child labor to the forefront of public awareness.  More than once she was arrested and spent time in jail.

Once denounced on the floor of the United States Senate as the “grandmother of all agitators”, she replied:

“I hope to live long enough to be the great-grandmother of all agitators.”

Her work became legendary among mine workers.  The Mother Jones Festival is still held annually close to her birthplace in Ireland, celebrating her legacy between admirers in Ireland and the United States.

She was one woman – a great woman – who, overcoming her own early personal tragedies, waged an all-out war for the betterment of other peoples’ lives.

She was one, of many, who came before us, to whom we all owe deep remembrance and gratitude.

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks and readings, and holding discussions about the future of America – all under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, contact the author.

The Realm of the Heart

A New Myth for America BuddhismA new world is birthing.

At present, this new civilization exists only in the hearts of men and women.  But from the hearts of men and women will eventually arise new, unsurpassed structures of life.

The realm of the heart will take the place of everything.  Not economics, not politics leading the way, but the heart.

This is the path of development for the next several thousands of years, and forever.

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks and readings, and holding discussions about the future of America – all under the banner of “Traveling to a New America.”

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, contact the author.

All It Takes Is One Person

To the youth of America:

All it takes is one person.

The nature of reality is such that your determination can send tremors into the farthest regions of the universe.

It is your universe, to create as you please.  Never mind what anyone has told you up to this point.  The world is your mirror.  Project onto that mirror what you dream of in your most private heart.

But your dream must include others, even those you despise.  Gandhi got to that point, which is why he could move the levers of the world.

The Buddha & The Dream of AmericaThe universe around you is your own selfsame life.  Mould it.  What you envision in your heart, with immense effort, will be reflected in everything that comes into vision and being around you.

Never mind that no one supports you, that no one participates in your dream.  The universe and all its forces will only come to you when you have weathered storms and gales of doubt and come to the point of needing nothing and no one.

Be a dreamer.  Build everything brick by brick. Build it within your life, your commitment, your perseverance, your compassion, your unflagging effort.  Never give up.  If you never give up, you will never be defeated.  To never give up is to achieve ultimate victory.

The universe is with you, urging you always on.  The test is whether you can persevere, whether you can hold your heart forever on course.

No matter what anyone says, live out your dreams.

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to t a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks and readings, and holding discussions about the future of America – all under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, contact the author.

Here & Now; Now & Forever

Religion comes down to our behavior as a human being.

All the talk of God is garbage if a man or a woman displays the dark side of human motives and interaction.

Compassion is at the core.  It is a matter of enlarging the scope of who we are, of our own core identity, and transferring that to another person.

Maybe We Need A New ReligionAll the talk of judgment day and armageddon, piety and faith, is all a corrupt delusion if it cannot help to create a better and more joyous day right here and now, this very day, in this world.

This America is where the dream is to be built and enacted, or it is nowhere.

There is no dream world after we die, there is no judgment day that is not judged of the simple motions of each day of our intentions and actions, and the creation of a better world before our very eyes, what we do, what we think, what we say, what motions of the heart we extend to others.

The great originators of all religions were no greater than we ourselves.  They only brought to the fore that which we all possess, they tackled their demons head on, they showed the way.

No one is greater than the simple man and woman.  History tries to teach otherwise, but in vain.  It is all a lie.

The great Treasure Tower, arising from the heart of the Earth – bedecked in jewels, broad as half the earth, sounding with flowers and music – is our very own life itself.

We are that fabulous.

From dream worlds beyond time and space, the intent of the cosmos is given expression, the very meaning of what it means to be alive, of what this existence portends into the past, present and future.

It is your own life.  You are the center of your universe.  The stars are like flowers bedecking your being.

Nothing is impossible.  You are irrepressible.

Give play to your dreams – especially the youth – carve them out painstakingly, inch by inch, yard by yard, never giving in.  There is time of all eternity to show your face and to win.

Believe in yourself.  Give expression to the power and boundlessness of your life, which reaches the stars and nebulae.

Look into the mirror.  Everything around is yourself.

Look for the jewel, it is there.  It also lies in the heart of all the other people you encounter.

This is the great awakening.

It takes place, here in America.
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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks and readings, and holding discussions about the future of America – all under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, contact the author.

Trump, The Stock Market, Tax Reform & The American Dream

Our country has reached the apogee of the American Dream.

The stock market is roaring, new heights almost weekly.  Tax reform has sent trillions of dollars to the most affluent of our citizens.  Daily, President Donald Trump is releasing all controls on the dammed up flood of investment and money flowing to new oil drilling off our coasts, to pipelines, removing barriers to vast public lands once considered sacrosanct as nature reserves and public treasures.

Public health, immigrants, children, international image, decency – all be damned.

It’s about power and money, stupid – transferred to the summit of a Republican Congress and a nuclear button.

A New Myth for America BuddhismIn 1864, in a letter near the end of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln wrote:

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country…corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

We have now reached the culmination of that vision.

It is us.  It is America.  It is a President who has brought forth the American Dream personified.

This is what our country has dreamed of in its sleep.

But now, an awakening.

Amid the gathering chaos, amid the final denouement of this old, false American Dream, a new Dream emerging.

Hungered for, sought after, from the beginnings of time.  The Dream at the heart of the world.

The real America.

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks and readings, and holding discussions about the future of America – all under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, contact the author.

An Absence of God

OUR MIND’S CHAOSBook of Poetry and Prose

I walk along the quiet streets,
Alarm bells clanging
Off in the distance,
Way off,
Red dust from bombed-out
Hovels shimmering in the
Incandescent light,
Floating in from Iraq, Iran,
North Africa, Syria,
Swaths of civilization
Wiped clean, leaving only
An absence of God,
A hole in the heart of
Everything.
The cancer spreads.
Stars and moons waver
Unsteadily in the heavens,
Our minds’ chaos
Setting the orbs of suns
In disarray.
It all emanates from our
Smoky breath, our
Tainted vision.
Where the eye cannot see,
Demons enter,
Rejoicing.

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks and readings, and holding discussions about the future of America – all under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, contact the author.

Bring Forth The Buddha At Last

THE BUDDHA, AT LAST

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The history of humanity has not yet begun.

Innumerable pages and volumes of stories from out of the past – individuals, cities, towns and lands – but not one true revelation of all people moving unified into a new dimension of being.

This is our inescapable destiny.

Forever Here, a book by James HilgendorfA great new spiritual revolution is required to move our present world into this new dimension. It only begins with a single individual transforming his or her life and mind at the core.

Is this possible?  Until now, it has never been even remotely possible.  An individual here, a group of people there, but on the broader scale of the whole of humanity, we have never witnessed such a thing before.

This is the challenge and potential.  This is the imminent possibility.

Bring forth the Buddha, at last.

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James Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks and readings, and holding discussions about the future of America – all under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

“Like” the Facebook Page, and follow the journey.

To arrange talks, contact the author.

Trump Takes His Marbles & Goes Home

Little boys sometimes get involved in games of marbles.  Sometimes a certain boy might be the one to bring his marbles to the game.  He is excited about playing, but then he starts losing, gets annoyed, and suddenly quits, gathers his marbles, and leaves the other players unable to play.

The United States has always been deeply involved in the United Nations.  But recently, the United Nations Security Council demanded that the United States rescind its recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to put its U.S. Embassy there.  The lone veto of this resolution was put forth by the American ambassador, Nikki R. Haley.

Nikki and Trump did not like being on the losing end of that vote, with even the United States’ staunchest allies voting against them.  But that was not the end of the story.

Next, the same issue came up in the General Assembly – the member bodies of the world – and the Assembly voted 128 to 9 against the Americans.

This was too much for Nikki and Donald.  They threatened to take away their marbles, and indeed have now executed more than $285 million in cuts for the international organization.

Nikki said this would show other countries “how we look at countries who disrespect us at the U.N.”

In other words, if you want to play with my marbles, you have to let me win.

Well, the United Nations is not an organization whose vote is bought off by the highest bidder.  You indeed have to earn respect at this world body; and with Trump and Nikki at the helm, the United States seems to be losing face by the hour.

It goes beyond that though.  A country and a President that continues to cut off ties with other countries and international organizations; that retreats into a pouting, juvenile posture about getting its own way, demeaning people and cultures and nations in an effort to bolster its own sad lack of character and worth, is not fit to rant and rave about its own importance, and certainly not fit to govern a country that has held itself up immemorially as a beacon of democracy and high ideals.

Niiki and Donald:  Take your marbles and go home.

But we side with the other players.  We don’t want to play with losers.

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year, he is traveling and connected to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks and readings, and holding discussions about the future of America – all under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey.

To arrange talks and interviews, contact the author.

Christmas: A New Name Needed for Ourselves

Christmas has come once again, the new year soon to follow.

A new year….   Ah, dreams of a better world.  Round and round since the beginnings of time.

Yet pain and suffering still cry out from this village, that town, this city, that nation around the globe.

What is it that keeps us bound to this wheel of division and hatred and war?

The Great New Emerging Civilization BookIdentities.  Small, hide-bound identities.

Names of ourselves.  Some of the biggest: Christian, Muslim, Jew.

Now at war over a hilltop in Israel, poised to slaughter and kill millions over old identities.

Hideous, monstrous, nuclear killing machines popping from the ground over North Korea, Russia, China, the United States and elsewhere, threatening annihilation, death, vast unmitigated nothingness.

Who are we?

Russian, Mexican, Mongolian, Congolese, Canadian, Welsh, Brazilian, Japanese, Indian, and hordes of other names and nomenclatures.

In the United States, deep rifts:  black and white, Republicans and Democrats, true Americans and foreigners – division after division unfolding day by day.

It is all America of the past.  It is all the world of the past.

A new identity, seeking expression beneath the rubble of imploding names -

Humanity.

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Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year and next, he is traveling and connecting to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks and readings, and holding discussions about the future of America – all under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey.

To arrange talks, contact the author.

A Reminder from Hiroshima

Hiroshima Survivor  HibakushaAkihiro Takahashi
Hiroshima Survivor

“One of our most powerful talents as human beings, they say, is our ability to forget  But I have never forgotten for a moment the horror of that day.  And when my thoughts turn to this subject, I am forced to realize that August sixth marked the real starting point of my life.

“I have survived, but my right elbow and all the fingers except the thumb on my right hand are bent out of shape.  I have keloid burns on both arms and legs, and a black nail continues to grow on my right index finger.  I am afflicted also with chronic hepatitis.  I have been hospitalized twelve times since 1971 and am still undergoing treatment.  I suffer from many other ailments as well.

“I fear for my life every day and, at times, my frail health has brought me close to despair.  I have often wondered, ‘Why should I go on suffering like this?’  But each time I remember that I survived.  In this way I have lived until today.

HiroshimaHiroshima is not merely an historical fact.  It is a continuous warning and lesson for the future.  War is caused by human beings, and it leads not only to one’s own death but to the deaths of loved ones, parents, brothers and sisters, teachers, and friends.  A nuclear war, in particular, has neither winners nor losers.  It holds in store nothing less than the extinction of the human species, the effective destruction of the planet itself.  If human beings don’t eliminate nuclear weapons, then the weapons will surely eliminate us.

Nuclear war, I believe, is truly a challenge to human reason and ideals.  Human beings should abolish nuclear weapons and thus create world peace.  We should transcend all pain, sadness and hatred from the past, join hands with each other regardless of differences of race or national boundaries, and change the flow of history from distrust to trust, from hostility to reconciliation, and from division to harmony.

“One person’s strength is limited, of course, but no one is completely powerless.  Unless someone starts something, we will have nothing.  I firmly believe that peace can come about only through the cumulative efforts of individual citizens everywhere.

“Peace will not simply be handed to us as a gift; it will not come walking up to greet us; and, finally, it will not arrive if we simply sit and wait.  Peace is something we must create, something we must actively talk about, act on, build upon, and then strive to make happen.

“World peace will not arrive at a stroke.  We have to build peace from where we are, beginning right around us.  In other words, we must begin in our homes, in our schools, in our work places, in our communities.  Then, standing on that foundation, we can bring peace to the world.

“We need to eliminate nuclear weapons from the world.  We need to make the world truly peaceful.  In order to do so, I want young people to inherit and be aware of our experiences and to work for a peaceful world.

“There are a lot of negative legacies of the 20th century, such as war, nuclear weapons, terrorism, global warming, famine, refugees, oppression of human rights and violence.  It was us adults who created this negative legacy.

“To make the world peaceful, each person needs to make an effort.  Don’t think that one person cannot make a difference.  Each person has power.  Each person has to do something.  If a person does nothing, that equals zero.  By one person taking action, things start to move or change.

“From one person to a second to a third, fourth and fifth, let’s make a circle of peace and spread it.  That’s what I really want to tell younger people.  If you’re just waiting for peace to come, it doesn’t come to you.  Peace is something we make and create.  We cannot win the peace unless we are actively involved.

“In order to do so, let’s have courage.  Let’s challenge  ourselves  and make effort.  Let’s not ignore the power we have.  Let’s bring forth the power we have and direct it toward peace.

“I hope the younger generations will make Hiroshima their starting point and view the world from a more global perspective.  To that end, and to make the 21st century a century of light and hope, I intend to continue to devote whatever energy I have left to telling my experience and spreading the spirit of Hiroshima.”

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Hiroshima Book CoverJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  He is traveling and connecting to towns and cities all across America, meeting people, giving talks and readings, and holding discussions about the future of America – all under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow his journey.

To arrange talks, contact the author.