Living the Souful Life
Toward A Consciousness Of Oneness
By Scott Kalechstein
“From a human viewpoint, any suffering is difficult. One need only look
around a small area of your own town and cities to see unexplainable,
unreasonable, unconscious suffering. Do not allow your minds to lull
to sleep by telling you, “Oh, well, it’s this karmic device or that
spiritual lesson.” I promise you that there is a greater purpose, but I
also assure you that the mind cannot know it. As long as you live, you
will never receive satisfactory answers to the why of suffering on your
planet. If you look back on the challenging times in your own life, you
can see the treasures they brought. Let that be enough.”
I am beginning this article on September 11.
When I can remember to pull myself away from the television, my focus has been to breathe in the pain of those whose lives have been shattered and breathe out my love and blessings to them. Through my tears and trembling, I am asking the question: How can I relate to this in a way that brings healing to our world? And the answer comes in gentle, powerful and earth-shaking whispers: End your personal dream of separation. Awaken to oneness. 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. For the first time in history, we are in a global grieving process. As a deep pain is shared by the world at large, many are getting their first taste of the consciousness of oneness. Everyone has been affected, and we are all in this together.
I can see it coming . . . from the consciousness that has brought us the war on drugs and the war on cancer — a war on terrorism. We all want to feel secure again, and many believe that war can be an effective strategy. I have doubts that a military solution would bring a sense of safety to our soil. Even if all the people responsible for the attacks were wiped out, what’s to prevent their children and other sympathizers from taking up arms and continuing what they perceive to be a holy war? And these are people who do not value their own life, let alone the lives of others. In the words of Jeanette Rankin, the first woman ever to join Congress, “You can no more win a war than win an earthquake.”
Gandhi cautioned, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Jesus taught us to resist not evil. This doesn’t necessarily mean to allow terrorists to reap havoc. Yes, I would like these people found, brought to international trial, and put away. And if force is needed to accomplish that, so be it. But force as a means to punish or to regain power only continues to feed the problem.
By judging them to be evil, and worthy of punishment (which is exactly how they perceive us), I feed the flames of violence. Us and them thinking has brought the world to where it is today, which is on its knees — a pretty good place to pray. While we are there, let’s pray to develop a consciousness of oneness.
I’d like to begin to empathize with those who would undertake such actions, to walk a mile in their shoes. It is said that if we could journey through the secret history of our enemies, we would find sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all of our hostility. Human beings who have experienced lives of horror after horror and know not how to grieve, to process the layers of their pain, can get stuck in blame, their un-cried tears hardening into attack thoughts, and to a greater extreme, bullets and warfare. All energy moves to expression.
I am not encouraging us to condone the use of violence because these people have suffered so deeply. Empathy is not an excuse to accept abusive behavior. It is a way to create a climate so it is not repeated.
If we are to move toward a consciousness of oneness, then I must ask myself this question: How do the people who were behind the attacks reflect a part of my consciousness? Is there a part of me that believes 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 another human being would wake them up, teach them a lesson, get them to hear me, 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 September 11, but I do want to own the shadow part of my consciousness that has contributed to such events. Every day I have thoughts and actions that are unloving toward myself and others, and add to the pool of violence in the collective consciousness.
The United States has a shadow as well. 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 denied and disowned, a large part the world feels compelled to hate us. Just like an individual recovers from an addiction, we as a nation need to hit bottom, come out of denial, take inventory of our weaknesses as well as our strengths, and make amends to those upon whom we have inflicted violence. My hope is that the twin towers falling to the ground can serve as our country’s bottom.
Countries are run as businesses, with services to offer the global market. Many Arab nations make their living selling oil. The Bahamas focus on tourism. Japan has made a mark with electronics, stamping their products Made In Japan. The United States has made a fortune being the planet’s leading seller of weapons. Our tear gas canisters, artillery shells, guided missiles, and the other items of destruction we profit from are proudly stamped Made in the USA. We are world famous for dealing in death.
Also, starting with video games, cartoons and action movies, children in our country are well trained to think of violence as an acceptable and even exciting and entertaining part of life. Does all this mean we deserved the attacks? Of course not! It does mean that we are not victims, and that we all have a responsibility here. Metaphysical law dictates that what we put out we get back. In the words of Jesus, “Those who live by the sword die by the sword.”
It is good to be shaken up by this, shaken out of our comfort zones that have towered we Americans above the suffering and poverty that many in the world experience. Shaken into asking why many people harbor hatred toward the United States, and what we can do about it. Shaken into beginning to think and behave as one planet, and not a collection of separate nations with separate interests. Perhaps all ivory towers of separation have to come tumbling down for the healing of our world.
Everyone projects his or her issues onto the movie screen of life. September 11 will mean different things to everyone. Some will feel justified to hate back, cursing the darkness, and therefore becoming part of the problem. Some will feel motivated to love and serve more deeply. Some will fear the end of the world. Many will focus on the blessings that are born in tragedy, the hearts opened, the phoenix rising from the ashes. It’s all there — the dark, the light, death, rebirth, despair, hope, wounds, healings, tragedy and miracles.
We are forever changed. Is there such a thing as a mundane moment anymore? I hope not. Today I ate out at a restaurant. I was about to leave my tip on the table, as I usually do, but that didn’t feel quite right. I found my waitress, put the money in her hand, looked into her eyes, and thanked her for the service. I want to seize every opportunity to make human contact, to cherish life, to bring warmth and caring, humor and heart wherever I go. Yes, September 11 has been a rude awakening, but now that we are awake, let’s not go back to sleep. Please join me in making our everyday lives a ministry of love. Join me in making September 11 a turning point for the planet, and let us turn towards oneness.
As the soot and dirt and ash rained down, We became one color. As we
carried each other down the stairs of the burning building We became one class.
As we lit candles of waiting and hope, We became one generation. As the
firefighters and police officers fought their way into the inferno, We became
one gender. As we fell to our knees in prayer for strength, We became one faith.
As we whispered or shouted words of encouragement, We spoke one language. As we
gave our blood in lines a mile long, We became one body. As we mourned together
the great loss, We became one family. As we cried tears of grief and loss, We
became one soul. As we retell with pride of the sacrifice of heroes, We become
Scott Kalechstein expresses his gifts through singing, speaking and leading workshops. He will be offer-ing a workshop called “Where Spirit and Relationships Meet” on Sunday afternoon, December 2, at the Unity Church in Tustin. Scott can be reached at (760) 753-2359, or at www.scottsongs.com You may contact him at email@example.com if you wish to be on his e-mail list.
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