September 11, 2001 . . .
YOGI AMRIT DESAI
From Crisis to Consciousness
We, as a yoga community, send our prayers to all those families whose loved ones, relatives and friends have been the victims of this horrific attack. Even though this kind of destructive, barbaric attack naturally arouses hatred and anger, we must go deeper within to pray for peace and love and receive the appropriate guidance for how to resolve and recover from this unimaginable destruction and loss.
The greatest opportunity for transformation as individuals and as a planet comes in moments of crisis. While times of prosperity and stability promote only superficial shifts, crisis shakes the foundation of safety and comfort we are accustomed to, calling for profound paradigm shifts.
The crisis that has come to the country has reached each individual in different ways. Whether crisis is global or personal, our reactions are always personal and based on our past. We need to see that our personal feelings and reactions to these events are a reflection of our own past experiences and provide insight into unresolved areas of our lives.
This is an opportunity to seek resolution that doesn’t just come from overpowering the external enemy, but from revisiting and transforming our own distorted perceptions, dysfunctional belief systems and personal biases. We can replace them with new ways to live and act from love, light and compassion.
Become aware. Ask yourself and explore, “How does my experience of these external events represent my own personal reaction to it?” “How can I regain clarity and objectivity that can truly solve both personal and global issues I am facing?” Before you expect external shifts in the world, let inner shifts remain at the core. Let us use the fact that we have been forced out of patterns of comfort, safety and familiarity to soften entrenched ways of behaving and thinking about ourselves, each other and the world.
Every crisis contains within it a lesson that we need to learn in order to reshape and transcend our past conditioning. Every event that appears painful or hurtful holds within it a message that can empower us to transform the world we live in. When we avoid the experience of hurt and pain we invariably miss the message inherent within it. If each one of us misses this opportunity we miss the possibility for a change in global consciousness.
Just as the forest is made up of trees, our country is made up of individuals. Only individuals have the possibility to influence and even prevent such tragic events from reoccurring through a personal shift in consciousness. Consciousness means finding the middle path where we are free from the primal drives of anger, fear and retaliation and the belief that overcoming the external enemy will give us the internal resolution we are seeking. The middle path transcends the duality of extremism and opposites. It sees with the light of clarity, objectivity and understanding. Find that place within yourself and you will create the right response and the right action. When the critical balance shifts towards more individuals living this way, the hundredth monkey effect will bring about a change in global consciousness. It all begins and ends with each one of us.
Yogi Amrit Desai, one of the earliest pioneers of yoga in this country, began teaching in 1960. Yogi Desai developed a spiritual dimension to the practice of Hatha Yoga and named it Kripalu Yoga, in honor of his guru, Kripalu. He also founded the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health and teaches his innovative approach in the form of Amrit Yoga. His books include Kripalu Yoga Meditation in Motion, Book I & II and Postures of Consciousness: Embodying the Spirit of Yoga.
TERRORISM AND NONVIOLENCE
Understandably, after the tragedy in New York and Washington DC on September 11 many have written or called the office to find out what would be an appropriate nonviolent response to such an unbelievably inhuman act of violence.
First, we must understand that nonviolence is not a strategy we can use in a moment of crisis and discard in times of peace. Nonviolence is about personal attitudes, about becoming the change we wish to see in the world. Because, a nation’s collective attitude is based on the attitude of the individual. Nonviolence is about building positive relationships with all human beings — relationships that are based on love, compassion, respect, understanding, and appreciation.
Nonviolence is also about not judging people as we perceive them to be — that is, a murderer is not born a murderer; a terrorist is not born a terrorist. People become murderers, robbers, and terrorists because of circumstances and experiences in life. Killing or confining murders, robbers, terrorists, or the like is not going to rid this world of them. For every one we kill or confine, we create another hundred to take their place. What we need to do is to analyze dispassionately what are those circumstances that create such monsters, and how can we help eliminate those circumstances, not the monsters. Justice should mean reformation and not revenge.
We saw some people in Iraq and Palestine, and I dare say many other countries, rejoice in the blowing up of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It horrified us, as it should. But, let us not forget that we do the same thing. When Israel bombs the Palestinians we either rejoice or show no compassion. Our attitude is they deserve what they get. When the Palestinians bomb the Israelis, we are indignant and condemn them as vermin who need to be eliminated.
We reacted without compassion when we bombed the cities of Iraq. I was among millions in the United States who sat glued to the television and watched the drama as though it was a made-for-television film. Television had desensitized us. Thousands of innocent men, women and children were being blown to bits, and instead of feeling sorry for them, we marveled at the efficiency of our military. For more than ten years we have continued to wreak havoc in Iraq — an estimated 50, 000 children die every year because of sanctions we have imposed — and it hasn’t moved us to compassion. All this is done, we are told, because we want to get rid of the Satan called Sadam Hussein.
Now we are getting ready to do this all over again — to get rid of another Satan called Osama Bin Laden. We will bomb the cities of Afghanistan because they harbor the Satan, and in the process we will help create a thousand other bin Ladens.
Some might say, “We don’t care what the world thinks of us as long as they respect our strength. After all we have the means to blow this world to pieces since we are the only surviving super-power.” Do we want the world to respect us the way school children respect a bully? Is that our role in the world?
If a bully is what we want to be, then we must be prepared to face the same consequences a school-yard bully faces. On the other hand, we cannot tell the world “Leave us alone...” Isolationism is not what this world is built for.
All of this brings us back to the question: “How do we respond nonviolently to terrorism?”
The consequences of a military response are not very rosy. Many thousands of innocent people will die both here and in the country or countries we attack. Militancy will increase exponentially and, ultimately, we will be faced with another, more pertinent, moral question: “What will we gain by destroying half the world? Will we be able to live with a clear conscience?”
We must acknowledge our role in helping to create monsters in the world, find ways to contain these monsters without hurting more innocent people, and then redefine our role in the world. I think we must move from seeking to be respected for our military strength to being respected for our moral strength. We need to appreciate that we are in a position to play a powerful role in helping the “other half” of the world attain a better standard of life not by throwing a few crumbs, but by significantly involving ourselves in constructive economic programs.
For too long our foreign policy has been based on “what is good for the United States.” It smacks of selfishness. Our foreign policy should now be based on what is good for the world and how we can do the right thing to help the world become more peaceful.
To those who have lost loved ones in this and other terrorist acts, I say I share your grief. I am sorry you have become victims of senseless violence. But let this sad episode not make you vengeful because no amount of violence and killing is going to bring you inner peace. Anger and hate never do. The memory of those victims who have died in this and other violent incidents around the world will be better preserved and meaningfully commemorated if we all learn to forgive and dedicate our lives to helping create a peaceful, respectful, and understanding world.
Arun Gandhi is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and Founder/ Director of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Memphis, TN.
MARK VICTOR HANSEN
If you can shop and don’t shop —America’s economy will drop and terrorism wins.
If you can travel, need to travel, want to travel, but won’t travel — terrorism wins.
If you can create a new business but are afraid to — terrorism wins.
If you can ask for three referrals, but don’t, then terrorism wins.
If you know the two parts to business are find new customers and keep the old ones, and don’t more proactively do it than ever before, then terrorism wins.
If good people don’t unite and fight terrorism on every front — spiritually, mentally, and economically, then terrorism wins.
If we don’t become totally interdependent, then terrorism wins. Terrorists’ need to be terrorized and put out of business permanently, or terrorism wins.
If you can be a tourist and won’t be a tourist because of your fears, then terrorism wins. If you need and want to go to a meeting — but are afraid, then terrorism wins.
If you can volunteer and serve for the sake of serving but won’t because you are lazy, or too comfortable, or too self-indulgent, then terrorism wins.
If you only think negatively, then terrorism wins.
If you choose to input positive thinking-believing and go for action- oriented results then terrorism loses.
Mark Victor Hansen is the co-creator of the #1 New York Times best-selling series “Chicken Soup for the Soul®”.
TIME FOR REFLECTION AND RE-EVALUATION
The aftershock of September 11 has rippled throughout our nation and the world, touching us in very deep and personal ways. It is a time for reflection and reevaluation, individually and collectively. As our nation continues to mourn, our leaders and military are at war. We need to stay vigilant that our retaliatory needs do not beget more violence but can be a time of learning, humbling and coming back to “ground zero” within ourselves to re-prioritize our values as people and as a nation. In this time of grief, sorrow and reverberating shock, our consciousness has never been more important. We can change this world through our thoughts, our prayers and visions.
In this time when there may be a feeling of powerlessness . . . we are empowered to hold the consciousness of the world we want to see. A world without war, however justified it may appear to be. A world of equality and justice, earthly and divine, for all. A world where we truly DO ask to be forgiven for our trespasses as well as forgive the trespasses of others. A world where we look to the source of conflicts rather than symptoms. A world where one nation does not prosper at the expense of another, but a world where all support and aid one another in their spiritual and material quest.
Each one of us carries within our consciousness the vision of a world we would like to see for our children, all children and their future generations. Let us together envision a world where we continue to cross the color and socioeconomic barriers as we have so valiantly done these past two months. Those great souls who gave their lives on September 11 were a sacrificial gift to our nation so we could rise like a Phoenix out of the ashes toward greater spiritual awakening.
What now? Let us all hold in prayer and meditation the light that precedes the new dawn . . . Let us hold in our hearts the love for all who gave their lives at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and all passengers on the planes, for what I feel could be the evolutionary transformation of the human race. Let us hold in our hearts the families, friends, and co-workers of every victim and when the time is appropriate, let our hearts expand beyond the borders of our own country, our own suffering to embrace all those who have suffered due to our actions and the actions of others. Can we hold the center of love for all humanity without labeling good and evil.
Can we hold the center between all polarities in the remembrance of our oneness with all creation? Are we ready to allow our patriotic compassion expand beyond the confines of one country to feel compassion for all children, as we would our own, and to embrace all people as the one world family?
What now? Can we support the peace efforts that are questioning U.S. policy and motives abroad? Is it a time to seek out information that bypasses the tributaries of corporate “mainstream” media? Can we be watchful and not allow ourselves to be conditioned to believe that any war or killing of people is just? We must not allow our civil and human rights to be buried under the banner of national security and profiling in the name of anti-terrorism. Can we stay awake? Not just on high alert to bioterrorism, hijacking and bomb implantation, but to the gradual and insidious losses of freedoms that once defined our democracy.
Today is a time, not for the activism of the past, which may have been based on anger and even fear . . . but a time for a new Spiritual Activism. Spiritual Activism is not reacting to outward conditions, but radiates from deep inner guidance that comes through prayer, meditation and inner listenings. Then, when the desire for an action arises, in whatever way our destiny calls, it is not based on anger and revenge which disempowers one in the long run. Instead, our chosen actions arise from a deep center of inner peace and we become instruments of healing rather than hurting . . . then Peace becomes a state of “Being” as well as doing. Then and only then, will we become a powerful part of the solution rather than the problem.
What can we do to empower ourselves in shaping our future destiny individually and as a nation? “Remain unmoving” as the ancient Taoist say, “Until the right action occurs.” Even though it may be too late for our leaders to follow this much needed wisdom, we can follow this each day for ourselves knowing that violence only begets more violence, and an eye for a thousand eyes, and a tooth for 10,000 teeth has not served ourselves, our country or our world in the past.
What can we do? Stand up! Face into the wind! Hold the vision! Remain unmoving, until the right action occurs! Then let your heart and voice be heard!
Rama Vernon is a renowned Master Yoga Teacher who founded the American Yoga College in 1974, and is the co-founder of the Yoga Journal. She also formed the Center for International Dialogue where Citizen Diplomats are trained in “Active Listening”. Through the efforts of Rama and the Citizen Diplomats, a dialogue to explore peace between the U.S. and Russia began.
There is much talk about what we should do now, after the devastation of 09/11/01. This is what I think we should do. When we speak, make it a sophisticated event. In other words, think before you talk, is it something positive or something negative? If it is negative, from fear or anger, wait a moment and rethink it. Transmute that energy and send it in a calm peaceful manner. Everyone will be the better for it.
Old baggage doesn’t serve us anymore. If you still hate your mother or the bitterness from your first divorce is lingering in your current affair (or lack of), do whatever it takes to move it. There are many ways to do this. Fragmenting therapy — dealing with the parts of the psyche which split off during trauma and keep us from experiencing life from a whole and centered perspective. Using medicinal quality essential oils and herbal mixtures help to raise the level of vibrations in the body, mind and soul. These things hold a higher level until it becomes the natural pattern, which we can exist in easily without effort. This makes for balanced emotions and a healthy body.
Make positive affirmations and do mantra. Mantra is an energy-based language. It has no english translation. When we have something that is unbalanced in our experience, i.e. lack of abundance, we can chant a mantra which will clean the karma in the subconscious and free the mind of itself (you know how you talk to yourself constantly about how miserable things are) while holding the pattern of what you want to manifest (money). Find out what else can be changed by mantra.
Eat healthy. Veggies and fruits, things not cooked or processed. We need enzymes. Learn about alternative methods of healing. I believe that everyone should have an herbal medicine chest, and know how to use it. Contact www.amazonherbdoctor.com , a wealth of information on foods and herbal formulas for healing the body can be found.
By what modality do you connect with your “higher self”? When you have questions, how do you seek the highest form of advice. Are you clairvoyant, clairaudient, or are you clairsentient or kinestetic. We all have one or more of these abilities. Study and expand your knowledge and wisdom. Become enlightened, ascend into your body, so you can ascend into “light”.
Remember, we are the vessel for the tactile experience of Spirit. We are co-creator with this, and we must remember that every thought and emotion “WILL” align and become part of our reality.
Find a healing practitioner and work with her/him often. This will help establish where your stuff sits, and allow for easy access and removal. Be diligent, the mind is the planter of the seeds (thought) and the subconscious is the garden where the seeds grow into fruition. Keep it weeded of angers, fears and other negative thoughts. We will hold hands and pull this earth up and out of all that no longer serves the “HIGHEST GOOD”.
Rain Morgan is “Mother Earth”. She is a healer, creator of mantra jewelry, and host of the Awareness Talk Radio Show.
A MONUMENTAL CHALLENGE
As most of us realize now, we are at war. Wondering where we go from here is a monumental challenge since there is no clear direction. Most of us have spent our adult lives praying for peace and at the very least seeing ourselves as people who live doing the exact opposite of what it takes to create war. We have worked to lay a different psychic and spiritual foundation within ourselves, animating the power of that wiring to assist in our own inner processes and perhaps directing our energy toward external projects that enhance life in our planetary community. We try to think positive thoughts and we have held as an ideal that every person on this planet is a worthy and sacred being. I do not believe any of us anticipated that we would actually enter into a war, and certainly not a battle with invisible enemies. Since September 11th, I’ve listened to many people comment on how we should respond — different wording for where we should go from here. A couple of people suggested that we drop fruit baskets over Afghanistan, and I suppose the massive shipments of food supplies that we are now pouring into that country are a version of that. Others have suggested that we “carpet bomb” the country and that while many innocent people would die in the process, that is simply the natural fallout of war — and in this case, a war we did not start and tried through negotiations to avoid.
But neither option will provide a means to end this crisis. From my point of view, our major battle is being fought at the psychic level and not the physical. Certainly we are now having to face the probability of germ warfare and endless acts of terrorism hitting us who knows where. We can be sure of one thing, however, our foes are brilliant at striking at targets we did not see coming.
And while the end result is and will continue to be massive physical destruction, this war is also managing to weaken our collective psyches as Americans and as planetary beings. Without a doubt, hitting our spirits is their true goal, one that is accomplished through bombing our buildings. In this way, we are all wounded simultaneously though the bombs that hit in only one city.
So where should we go from here? Ironically we should head directly into the power of the American spirit and combine that with the chemistry of universal faith along with a determination to continue to live a freedom-centered life.
We must NOT become psychic, emotional, or physical hostages to these terrorists. We cannot afford to become afraid of our own streets, buildings, and lifestyle. We cannot allow a handful of vengeful individuals to control our beloved nation, our personal lives and cause us to negotiate the freedoms that lie at the very soul of this nation. We must not let fear contaminate the vision and spiritual power of the United States. Shadow forces have always surfaced in human history, one of the most notorious of the past century being the Nazi party. I could provide you with an endless list of the cycles of history in which evil has emerged and destroyed the innocent. I could also provide you with proof that the Light and goodness always triumphs in the end.
Where should you go from here? Into the heart and soul of your power. Remind yourself of what you have (at least up until now) stated as your belief: that your life — and death — is in the hands of God. Don’t release that authority into the shadow of the collective unconscious of humanity. Remember, as vague as this truth may often appear, it is truth that one Light alters the intensity of the dark, regardless of how dark the shadow may be. You must remain steadfast in your commitment to freedom.
Caroline Myss is the author of “Sacred Contracts” and “Anatomy of the Spirit”.
JUDITH ORLOFF, M.D.
As a psychiatrist and intuitive I combine my traditional medical skills with the intuitions I receive to help my patients. I consider myself a student of energies, both positive and negative. When a friend called to tell me the World Trade Towers were being bombed, of course I was in shock and terribly saddened and alarmed. But there was an intuitive part of me that wasn’t surprised at all by the attack. Apart from all the reasons the Islamic world may have to hate the West, I’ve been acutely aware of a collective darkness looming. Throughout history, this darkness keeps emerging in the form of horrendous dictators and barbarians.
I feel it is essential that we begin to deal with the darker parts within us, so they don’t get projected and acted out in the world — our fear, hatred, self-loathing, envy, greed. It is a huge individual triumph to deal with the dark side of ourselves so it doesn’t add to the collective darkness. The first place to start in the peace process is with ourselves. As Gandhi said, “Let us be the change.”
When we are striving for peace in our inner lives, our efforts resonate throughout the world. Darkness, war, terrorism will only ultimately disappear when each of us become committed to living a life of heart and intuition. We need to heal everything that keeps us from achieving that. When we do, there will be no reason to kill or hurt our fellow human beings. Only a person or civilization that is desperately wounded would be compelled to do that. By using our intuition, by being honest with our shortcomings and strengths, we can begin to change the violent patterns that keep re-emerging throughout history.
I feel an instigator for this attack is fear of the feminine. In much of the Middle East women’s faces are veiled; they are not allowed to be educated or go outdoors; clitorectomies are performed to control a woman’s sexual desire and prevent pleasure. We in America share the same fear too: of being swallowed up, over powered. In China, baby girls are slaughtered because boys are more highly values. Throughout history women have been burned at the stake or murdered for their capacity to “see”. Part of the healing of the world means embracing the powerful feminine energy in men and women — bringing the Goddess energy back into the world. The part of us that can have visions, premonitions, connect with the power of nature, open our arms and part the clouds. This reinstitution of the feminine will help bring world peace. For now, we can start the healing process in ourselves, as well as pray and pray again for peace. Pray that President Bush and his cabinet are given the vision to act from wisdom, not from some cowboy-macho impulse simply to “bomb the enemy”. Our prayers go a long way. When we all join together, we are powerful and positive change can occur.
Judith Orloff MD, a psychiatrist and intuitive in Los Angeles, is author of the bestsellers “Guide to Intuitive Healing,” and “Second Sight.” For her lecture schedule, check out website www.drjudithorloff.com
What the World Needs
Now is Love
By Terry Cole-Whittaker
No matter what goes on in this world, the laws of the universe remain the same. And it is these laws that govern every person’s life without exception. We do not always like what comes to us, but what comes to us has something to do with what we have given out or done to others. Reincarnation, which is the science of “You always get another chance,” explains why bad things happen to good people. In essence, we have always lived and we shall always live, even though the body in which we are living and expressing does and will change.
Matter changes, but spirit is pure love and changeless. Our world will only change for the better when we love. Love means that we treat other people with respect, as we endeavor to bring them happiness, prosperity, and well-being. If we want to live peaceful lives, then we must be peaceful and never cause distress to other living entities, including animals. Unfortunately most people are asleep to the laws of Karma, “As you sow, so shall you reap,” reciprocity, or cause and effect. When something unwanted happens, the average person does not see the cause and effect relationship having to do with something they did. Knowing how this law works and then choosing to give out only what we desire to get back is our only insurance and guarantee for a happy, healthy, loving, prosperous, and peaceful life now, and in the future. In my newest book, “Every Saint Has a Past, Every Sinner a Future,” I point out that we always get another chance to do the right thing, no matter what we have done or failed to do in the past. The higher purpose behind Karma or cause and effect is that we can realize what comes back to us is most likely something we have given out, and if not in this life a prior one. The good news is that we can start a new life today, if we choose.
There are three ways a person can be affected. One: By an act of nature. Two: By another living entity. Three: By the reactions of his or her own actions. We have control over our own thoughts, desires, words, and actions, thus making us the architects of our own lives. But the weather can bring us unexpected difficulties and so can other living entities including people, animals, and insects. When something happens to us from an outside cause, we do have the power to react and respond as we think best. This is called personal respond-ability or responsibility. Even in times of great challenge, we still can choose how we will respond and what we shall do to protect ourselves and find the best solution given the goal and the circumstances.
Every situation provides an opportunity for us to choose what we will do. What we will do has to do with our philosophy, ideals, values, and goals. The first thing to ascertain is, “How did we bring this upon ourselves, if indeed we did?” Because we have the power to change, if we are at cause then we can change our thinking, beliefs, words, and behavior to reflect the quality of life we truly desire, and naturally our world will change. No way can someone escape the reactions of their actions, loving or not. If we have caused distress to another, then it is a good idea to ask for forgiveness, make amends, and stop doing that which was causing them to suffer. “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you,” still remains true and will always be true. If there was no way we could have brought this upon ourselves, then we must seek to protect ourselves, do what is necessary to prevent further difficulty, and find a way to achieve our goal.
Spiritual people need to be strong, have faith in the God of his or her understanding, pray to do the right thing, and pray for peace, love, and happiness to reign supreme in this world. No way are we to live in fear, but we are to be fearless, courageous, and strong. Each of us has work to do, therefore we need to upgrade the level at which we are doing our work in the world. Uplifting humanity is the greatest work in the world. Challenges can make us strong, but if we hide from them out of fear we shall fail the test and have to repeat the lesson. Whatever is going on, there is always a lesson, gift or treasure we can find and therefore apply in the present and future.
Individuals create their own realities, and this is very important to remember. The creative principles are at work, all the time, and for all people. We are not helpless, nor are we victims. The one who terrifies us the most is our own mind. Now is the time for each of us to dive more deeply into our spiritual studies and to apply the knowledge we are learning. As Winston Churchill said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
The Chinese have two words for the symbol of crisis: danger and opportunity. I choose opportunity.
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