On September 11, 1906,
Mahatma Gandhi launched the first mass campaign of nonviolent
struggle the world had seen, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
I am writing this exactly ninety-five years after Gandhi's actions,
the day of the terrorist attacks. I feel sad, shocked and tremendously
shaken up by this. At times I also feel quite calm, as if I was the
center of a hurricane, an Eye of peace in the tumultuous storms around
me. My focus has been to breathe in the suffering of those in pain
and breathe out my love and blessings to them. A Course In Miracles
teaches us over and over that all perceived attacks are a call for
love in disguise, and that miracles happen when that love is given.
Today I am sending love. Today I am asking the question of God: How
can I relate to this event in a way that brings healing to the world?
And the answer comes in a gentle, powerful and earth-shaking whisper:
Extend compassion and empathy to everyone involved. And everyone is
involved. Nobody on earth can pretend they are separate from this
event. It is that big. What potential for joining and healing, movement
and evolution! Rather than just labeling the terrorists as evil, can
you imagine the consciousness of those who would give rise to such
behavior? Can you begin to empathize with the pain that would inspire
people to hate that way? I can. And I believe we must, if healing
is to come to our world. It is said that if we could read the secret
history of our enemies, we would find sorrow and suffering enough
to disarm all our hostility. I am not saying we should accept violence
because these people have suffered so deeply. Empathy is not an excuse
to condone terrorism. It is a way to create the climate for healing
so it is not repeated. Those who have experienced horror after horror
and know not how to grieve, to process the layers of their pain, find
their un-cried tears hardening into bullets and warfare. All energy
moves to expression. If at all possible, I believe these people must
be caught and prevented from taking further actions of terrorism.
And if force is needed to undertake such prevention, so be it. But
force as a means to punish or to regain power only continues to feed
the problem. In Gandhi's words: "An eye for an eye makes the whole
world blind." My hope is that we all allow ourselves to be shaken
up by this, shaken out of our comfort zones that tower us Americans
above the suffering and poverty that most of the world experiences.
Perhaps all ivory towers of separation have to come crashing down
for the healing of separateness in our world. If healing is to come,
it will come through the consciousness of oneness. I am one with the
hearts of all the people affected by these events. I am one with the
people who lost their mates, the children whose fathers and mothers
didn't come home. And I am one with the tortured hearts of those who
took these actions. We are all in this together Here is a question
I am pondering: How do these terrorists reflect a part of my consciousness?
Is there a part of me that believes that acting out my anger is justified,
and that sometimes it is necessary to violate someone to make my point
or express my frustrations? Have I ever thought that inflicting pain
on someone would wake them up, teach them a lesson, or accomplish
something of value? Do I ever feel so hurting and helpless that the
best I can do is throw a tantrum? Of course! My actions may not ever
be as dramatic as what has been acted out on this day, but I do own
the shadow part of my consciousness that has contributed to such events.
The United States has a shadow too. We stampeded across this country
through the genocide of the Native Americans, and we have contributed
to violence all throughout the world since then. To the extent that
this shadow is disowned and denied, a large part the world feels compelled
to hate us and some even attack us. Just like an individual recovers
from an addiction, we as a nation need to hit bottom, come out of
denial, make amends for those whom we have inflicted violence upon,
and own our weaknesses as well as our strengths. My hope is that the
twin towers crumbling down can serve as our national bottom. Are the
terrorists evil and is our country an innocent victim? Are things
ever that black and white? I would like to quote the words of Michael
Moore, who made the movie Roger and Me and has been a prominent political
and social activist: "WE created the monster known as Osama bin Laden!
Where did he go to terrorist school? At the CIA! Don't take my word
for it-I saw a piece on MSNBC last year that showed that when the
Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan, the CIA trained bin Laden and his
buddies in how to commits acts of terrorism against the Soviet forces.
We abhor terrorism-unless we're the ones doing the terrorizing. We
paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the
1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians. We have orphaned so many children,
tens of thousands around the world, with our taxpayer-funded terrorism
(in Chile, in Vietnam, in Gaza, in Salvador). Will we ever get to
the point that we realize we will be more secure when the rest of
the world isn't living in poverty so we can have nice running shoes?
Let's mourn, let's grieve, and when it's appropriate, let's examine
our contribution to the unsafe world we live in. It doesn't have to
be like this... Michael Moore.