In The Shadow Of The Towers
by Asoka Selvarajah (e-mail: ASelvarajah@liberator.net) [January 28th, 2002]
What is the correct response for a metaphysical person to the terrible events of September 11th? It is a major challenge to fathom what happened, and what our personal response should be. This article will set out a few themes that are worth considering.
The key attitude must surely be to display compassion and care for the sadness and suffering we see. This means praying for those who have lost loved ones, helping any such people we know directly, and praying too for those who died. There is much good we can do in remembering those who have left the earth plane so suddenly.
According to many spiritual traditions, they are now wandering in-between lives, seeking a new incarnation. Our prayers can do much to ensure that they are comforted at this time, that they recognize opportunities for immediate spiritual growth within this "bardo" experience, and also help guide them to a favorable rebirth in a place where they may be exposed to true spiritual teachings and make rapid progress in their relentless journey towards enlightenment.
However, it is also important to exercise a degree of spiritual detachment, in the best possible sense. Having empathy with the suffering taking place is not the same as getting emotionally involved. This may be exceedingly hard if you know someone who died, or someone who is grieving. However if, like the majority, you are merely following the events on TV, you should try not to get too caught up in the whole emotional tidal wave sweeping America and the world. Just watch, learn, and help.
Events come and events go. Some are good and some are bad. All things happen as they are meant to. We may choose to attribute various meanings to them, and invariably do. We may even wish they had not happened. However, in the final analysis, their ultimate role in the pattern of existence is a mystery to the finite human mind. What seems good to us may not be. What seems evil to us may not be. Yet, whether good or evil from our point of view, they are all indivisibly part of the necessary whole we call human existence. As Joseph Campbell said in an interview with Bill Moyers, "Who are we to judge"?
It is a testament to existing religious systems that we continue to think of events in terms of good and evil; a war between light and dark, God and the Devil. It is this very thinking that breeds the judgmental self-righteous attitude so obvious at the present time. This sort of thinking is rife throughout the Western nations. It is currently being exploited by world leaders to galvanize the feelings of the masses, and create a moral momentum behind what the politicians have already decided to do anyway.
Yet, such polarized and dualistic judgments exclude the possibility of (a) understanding, and (b) progress.
In the first case, we need understanding because simply coming out with the same tired old formulas such as "outrage", "atrocity", "terrorist" and other such words no longer work. People are being killed at ground level, and all the politicians can do is recite the same old formulas of polarization (i.e. I am right and you are evil), and pull out their bombs yet again.
This neatly sidesteps their own culpability in whatever has taken place, as it is fully intended to do. Nobody ever commits such terrible acts as those of September 11th purely for the sake of being evil, as the politicians would have you believe. There is a reason and philosophy, and a mind very different to ours behind such strange reasoning.
The tragedy of September 11th was an Effect. What was the Cause? The tired old formulas trotted out by the grey suits in power will not get us any nearer the solution. We have to look at our own actions, both militarily and economically, to begin to get closer to finding out why anyone would want to do something like this to us.
It is only by understanding the other person's position, no matter how much we might loath and disagree with it, that we can hope to make any progress in creating a secure future for all. Simply throwing bombs at the problem will merely assure us of more of the same in return, as they have already done on this occasion. That is why our world leaders are rapidly looking like dinosaurs; with outdated limited modes of action for a world that has fast outpaced them.
Meet The Masters Of War
A metaphysical person also needs to guard the door of the mind. Remind yourself that most of what you are seeing through the media regarding this conflict is now pure propaganda. It is not the truth. You are seeing a presentation that the government wants you to see. There is a presentation of patriotism, nationalism, flags and songs; all intended to create the effect of terminating awkward questions from the population at large. By distracting the masses with these rallying symbols and this war, the powers that be can distract you from asking questions like, "What did our governments do on our behalf to provoke such vicious hate from other people?" Instead, "my country right or wrong" will come to prevail in the coming months. At least, until the body count rises sufficiently......
It may well be that we should work to get rid of international terrorists. If so, we can start with the ones we voted into power in our own countries. These are the people who commit countless "atrocities" against innocent people in other nations and call it "collateral damage". These are the people who make literally bomb-astic speeches and threats aimed at extremely dangerous and clever people. Yet, they never stop to think that the people who will pay for these big words are not them. It is YOU and ME, the innocent citizens, who pay with our blood for the posturing of politicians across the world. That is exactly what happened in America on September 11th.
The grey-suited men in the world governments have as little true insight today as they did then. It is quite astonishing for anyone who has eyes to see. With amazing arrogance, these "grey suits" pop out of their boxes whenever there is an international crisis. They then go through the exact same motions every time. Like spring-driven marionettes on an old clock tower, they appear every time the hour is struck to shout: "Outrage!", "We will teach Saddam/Osama/Gadaffi/Whomever/ a lesson...", "We demand....", and so on. Then the bombing campaign begins.
Moreover, this is why the politicians are so aggressive in their response to the events of September 11th. This tragedy is a direct response to their own behavior and policies. Yet, like professional conjurors, they have misdirected the attention of a nation elsewhere. In this way, their own actions of the last few decades will not come under close scrutiny, as it should.
Look to Your Heart For The Lead
In one of his concerts, Bruce Springsteen said, "Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed." Never was a truer word spoken, and it is particularly correct at this time. Do not believe all that politicians tell you. Sadly, for most of them, lying is their profession and their primary talent in life. It has always been this way. Instead, you need to seek your own truth.
Detachment from all these events is the best approach for a spiritually oriented person. See it all as on a cinema screen. Involve yourself no more than that. Be in the world but not of it. That is the correct attitude to detachment. Take all opportunities to help others, pray for them, and work for the spiritual and material good of all. However, don't get overly involved in the political issues and the war. This too shall pass.
Yet, alongside detachment, a metaphysical person should work to protect the persecuted at this time. Muslims in the USA, and in other countries too, face the very real danger of persecution. The terms "Arab", "Muslim", and "Terrorist" are fast becoming synonymous amongst the ignorant. This is a very dangerous tendency indeed. We should see what we can do to help such persecuted innocents, and discourage the racist backlash that is building to the best of our ability. If military action is taken against Afghanistan and Pakistan, this persecution will rapidly spread to Asians too. The ignorant do not make subtle distinctions between shades of color or nationality.
A major part of this task of protecting the innocent should be to do our best to make our voices known regarding this "war" against whomever (the first time in history that war has ever been declared against "we-know-not-who-exactly"). Many thousands of innocent people will die in Afghanistan, many of them small children, if this war goes ahead. Many Americans think this is a price worth paying if it preserves their way of life.
However, metaphysical people should pray for peace, but also speak up about what they want done instead of this utterly futile military action. If you cannot do anything now, you can certainly do so at the next election. Perhaps the most effective vote these days is no vote at all. After all, both parties (in both the USA and UK) are fast becoming indistinguishable, thereby undermining democracy from within. You may choose to refrain from voting again, and tell the candidates why. If enough people did this, the political system would collapse OR politicians would actually have to start listening to what everyday people think for a change! REAL Democracy!
However, the very best work we can do is to transform the consciousness of the nation. The leader of a nation can never, except in very rare circumstances, exceed the level of consciousness of the people who raised him/her to power. We appear to have a clear case of this in America today. However, it does not matter who you voted for, because the same is true of either party. The people in politics are always representative of the level they believe the masses to be at. As a cynic once said, "you get the government you deserve".
Thus, direct political effort is, for a spiritually oriented person, a side issue. Instead, we should be re-affirmed in our own determination to raise the level of consciousness of the nation, beginning first with ourselves. It is when the consciousness of a nation can be raised that we get a change in consciousness of the leadership.
This happened in Tibet during the advent of Buddhism. The Tibetans, formerly an extremely warlike people who conquered large tracts of China, gradually changed to such an extent that they renounced all forms of violence and embraced Buddhism. The country became a Buddhist state. It is a dramatic example of what is possible if we are willing to work towards it. It can be done in your nation too, whichever nation that happens to be for you. However, the first nation to transform is yourself. The power of one spiritually integrated person cannot be imagined. Gandhi proved this in his non-violent victory over Britain in India. So too did Martin Luther King in America. By changing yourself, you are fully empowered to change others and the world.
This are the best attitudes to adopt to the changing circumstances of your life, and the present tragedy in particular. In this way, the government you deserve will one day be far better than the one you have presently got; both in your heart and in your country.
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