NORMAN, OK — As fate would have it, I was one of the estimated 1.5 million people who travel from city-to-city in America each day on the tenth anniversary of the now infamous demolition of the World Trade Center complex in New York City on September 11, 2001. While some drama was noted on a few flights, my flight went as smoothly as a warm knife through butter.
Even though I carried gear up the proverbial wazoo — laptop in the backpack and bag with video camera, microphones, and more — I passed through security with no undo delay. Extra steps were being taken. On certain flights people were randomly stopped by TSA agents and asked to present ID cards and boarding passes before boarding the plane.
While I hadn’t forgotten about the 9/11 event, the extra precautionary steps then made sense.
The world does certainly remember 9/11. The government and media have seen to that. To varying degrees they’ve been molding the public perception of the events that led up to, and have transpired since that sorrowful tragedy where 3,000 people’s lives ended. From the U.S. Open Tennis championships, to the NFL, 9/11 became a context point around which to make meaningless activity sound meaningful, and make unconscionable actions on our parts sound justifiable. Don’t get me wrong; I love tennis, and like football, but in the scheme of things, neither is likely to foster the kind and depths of introspection that would assist in one’s spiritual liberation.
The statement, “War is unconscionable. There are no winners,” can contribute toward spiritual liberation. It happens as we take stock of what is, and is not working beneficially in our life, and make changes.
I can’t tell you what have we “won” through war in the 10 years since 9/11, but I can tell you a few things that we’ve lost.
Freedom is one. While the shock of the event itself was still making itself through the public consciousness, the Patriot Act was signed into law by George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The provision broadened the government’s power to execute wire taps, searches, and seizures. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also grew out of this event. They added an entirely new set of hoops — scans, restrictions for carry-on liquids, searches, etc. — for travelers to jump through.
There are many who can detail the legislative and social changes far better than me. I simply ask the question, do you think we are safer now? Are we happier now? Or freer now? If your answer is no, don’t blame the Democrats or the Republics, as the “muffage” (i.e., mishandling) has gone on while both were in power. The ones who gave them power are you and me. Look in the mirror, not to blame yourself for what has gone wrong over the past 10 years, but to realize who can change things from this point on.
Over the past 10 years we’ve been led to believe that the freedom to seek vengeance was ours alone. Tens of thousands of additional lives have been lost, and countless more maimed in the ensuing years.
The photos below of a wounded Marine, being given the hero treatment by Washington bureaucrats, is telling. He is lauded for his bravery and sacrifice. Do you think he really cares about their accolades?
Instead of reducing the military death and debt toll, the lawmakers continue the acrimonious policies and relations that feed hostilities. Is that what the Marine wants?
I imagine that he would gladly trade his “hero” status for the eye he gave up, or his arm.
Or the natural restoration of his innocent face.
Science has grown quite adept at destroying things, both in matters of war, as well as in matters of medical practice. Thousands of people are dying each day from the effect of medical treatments that decimate the human organism while the generals in white coats wage “war” against a myriad of diseases. When a life is lost, and there have been millions since 9/11, their families mourn just as deeply, and with equal sincerity, as those who were memorialized at Ground Zero.
But while we wear ribbons, and do marathons and walk-a-thons, medical practices haven’t changed and the death toll rises.
What about the foreign casualties of war? The civilians of Iraq and Afghanistan, two nations that we have occupied, not with a peace-abiding coalition, but with a military one? One could argue that “they” are intent on killing us on our soil. However, we have armed forces in their midst that are killing them, or are an immediate threat to do so, far in excess of guidelines that might be suggested by the “Eye for an Eye” School of Revenge Management.
Yet we keep giving ourselves congratulatory pats on the back for how we’re handling things. Documentaries on how we killed bin Laden run on the Discovery Channel, as history is “spinned” in one direction and away from another, such as how the towers came down with such precision, or what accounted for Building 7′s fall.
War is not the answer to conflict. Neither are lies to the public. It just adds to enmity and heartache, depression and misery.
Peace isn’t an option that you “try to find a way to.” It’s one that is chosen because it is the solution itself. Just as war can be engaged unilaterally, so can peace. We can commit to being peaceful, not harm causing, as we redress our differences, and no longer be a military threat to another country.
I know that the old “enemy” paradigm dies hard, but we are bankrupting ourselves by trying to become the police force of the world. We’re not that, nor can we ever hope to be. If 9/11 has shown us anything, it’s that we’ve not gone in the positive direction. We’ve continued on a slippery slope into fear.
Instead of trying to be the baddest dudes on the planet, able to force our will and ways on others, we might consider taking the lead in solving our problems, doing what we say we want to accomplish:
- lessen our dependence on oil
- lessen our carbon and “greenhouse” emissions
- restore the balance of our ecosystems
- restore the nutritional quality of our foods
- respect the life-giving bounty that Mother Nature provides naturally
- protect ourselves through peaceful balance and coherence
- heal ourselves from chronic and degenerative diseases
All of these and more are achievable now, and have been for decades, but no one is mourning the American mavericks and inventors that have lost their lives, or came close to losing them, because their product would correct a known problem. Stanley Meyers lost his life promoting a way to dramatically extend the fuel economy of an internal combustion engine.
Paul Pantone (www.geetinternational.com), who likewise has developed such technology, was committed to a hospital in Utah, ostensibly because he was declared “incompetent.” However, the patents that he held on fuel saving technologies were considered competent; competent enough that authorities attempted to have him sign over his rights.
Where would we be if we gave into fear?
We’ve be with a fearful government, abusing the power we’ve given it because its truth is suspect.
It’s time for a change; a change within each of us. It’s not enough to want to be different. We’ve got to be different starting on the inside, in our heart.
Let me end this by suggesting a scenario.
Imagine that forces from a foreign country came into the United States and openly threatened the lives of our citizens. There would be a call to arms and every effort would be taken to resist and repel the threat.
If such a response by Americans is easy to understand, why is it that we don’t seem to understand the umbrage that people in other nations have against our doing such things — destroying property and killing innocent people — on their soil?
The bureaucrats are supposed to be wise. They are supposed to protect the safety of all Americans. They are supposed to demonstrate to the world what America truly stands for. Well in the last 10 years, “America” has stood for vengeance, intimidation, and forceful acquisition, including on American citizens. Truth has been on a “need to know” basis.
We can do better than we have, but it begins by knowing that we do not and cannot honor life by killing.
So much has already happened to start 2011; so many opportunities and reasons, so many catalysts to encourage us to take a fresh look at life with both un-jaundiced eyes and mind. We’re receiving wake-up calls that prompt us to ask the long stifled question, “where do we go from here? Can we do better? Can we live better? Can we heal and be well?”
The word “shocking” has become the unexpected intruder in the unfolding history of this young year. Unexpected perhaps, but the events are all catalysts for each of us to ask probing questions.
With birds falling from the sky and fish die offs in the U.S. and around the world…
We search for causes, offering everything from fireworks and cold weather to HAARP emissions and the loop current as the answer…
But the mystery lingers…
Mystery, i.e., our inability to make sense out of a phenomenon, experience, or concept with understandings presently thought to be true, serves as reminders that we don’t know everything yet, and catalysts to stay open and keep asking questions.
We must ask questions if we are to change our attitudes, to change our behavior, and hence, our experience.
We don’t question human behavior nearly enough. In fact, we oftentimes tell ourselves that we (or they) can’t change. However, there’s a big difference between “can’t” and won’t. The only way to know the difference, is accepting that positive change is possible. The alternative, is to go dumb, or numb.
Then, just when we become comfortable in our numbness to bad news, another event happens close to home that we just can’t ignore, making us ask questions again.
My heart goes out to those who were involved in, and affected by the shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson (1/8/2011), which is just down the road from me.
As much as we wish her a speedy and full recovery, who among us is ready to send healing wishes to the man who pulled the trigger? Is he not, and was he not already in dis-ease?
Is he not “one of our own” too?
Are we ready to celebrate the heroes and disown the villains, locking them up and throwing away the key, or putting them to death?
How’s that working for us?
Would it be better to punish him? Or would it be better to help him heal his heart so that we know that the “red zone enmity” that he sunk to won’t happen again from him?
If we can help him heal, then can we help other “red zone cases” that currently fill our prisons?
If we heal just one such man or woman, then a blessing can emerge from this chaotic mess.
(Hint, it won’t happen via prescription medication or surgery.)
If we seek to punish alone, we’ll get more of the same.
Every moment, every event, and every experience that is not to our liking is a catalyst to ask the question; “is there another way of seeing and responding, that I might realize a new quality of change? Can healing come from this?” These are personal questions that can affect humanity as a whole.
Even the most tragic moments have within them the seeds of the greatest blessings and beginnings. They will grow based on the environment that we create around them. If we create an environment that nurtures greatness and actually heals dis-ease of all involved, then the fruits of our choices will eventually nourish us.
Asking the right questions and making inspired choices are the first steps that each of us can take.
I reach out to the people of Australia’s heartlands, who are experiencing Mother Nature’s power first hand. This is not vengeance, but her need to “adjust” her settings. Brace yourselves for something wonderful; the new lives that you can create in your new world.
I reach out to the people of Haiti. You were suffering from life before the events of January 12, 2010, only to see a bad situation turn worse in the ensuing year. My heart goes out to you.
Will you search within your own heart and allow heaven to emerge from your hell?
Money only brings palliative relief, and even that will be for a few. Only love can cure what ails you.
To my fellow U.S. citizens on the Gulf Coast who still endure the effects of the chemical desecration that was the Gulf Oil Spill treatment chosen by BP and the U.S. Government. A corporate decision made a bad situation worse, and efforts are still being made to cover it up.
Even as you cope with the tell-tale and obvious signs of disease, please know that you can heal yourselves, your children, and communities. If you do, you can show others the way.
To those around the world whose countries are torn asunder by war, whether cultural, civil and political, please know that peace is at hand; and that it begins with and through you. Will you make your desire to break the cycle of tragedy your reason to treat others the way you want to be treated, instead of reason to prey on innocents?
To those who are in poverty. If you don’t see a wonderful bounty that is available just for you at the expense of no one else, then imagine it into being. Imagine yourself joyfully being part of its growth.
To those who populate our jails, please forgive us for shunning and fearing you. We have made you our problem. Let those who are ready to treat others as human, even in an inhumane place, raise their thoughts and set a new course of intention. You are where you are for a reason. Only by owning the choices that you made to get there, will you gain the power to liberate yourself, even while behind bars. What is the true warden, but fear?
We complain about the darnedest things. We see our troubles as the worst there could ever be. Yet, we don’t know jack about troubles. Someone, somewhere always is experiencing something that would immediately make us feel grateful for the troubles that we have, and maybe even consider that we can fix them.
The world that we live in is one of our creation. Limited resources and availability, haves and have-nots, poor and rich, heroic and villainous, healthy and diseased, are all states of one humanity, and we are all capable of experiencing any or all of these expressions. We are also able to change any, if we ask heart-felt questions, and are willing to see new ways.
Take a look at the image… how do you see it? Is the sun rising? or is it setting?
The answer depends on your point of view, which only you can change.