beliefs so firmly and tightly in place that they cannot perceive clearly, a form perhaps of self-induced brain-washing. Indeed, many of us have beliefs and mind-sets that color our perceptions so that we do not see things clearly and objectively. Fear, hate, negativity, judgment, closed-down attitudes -- these contribute greatly to a lack of personal peace and acting out these negativities, as we saw on Tuesday. This is why personal healing is so very important -- to transmute the negative with the positive and the clear, so that we may see and act clearly and positively.

Personal Response

As to the traumatic events themselves, how do we respond? Obviously, we must all respond in our own way -- from prayer, to visualizing peace and healing, to donating blood, and, yes, even to anger. It is perfectly natural and human to feel anger. The question, though, is whether we act on that anger or stay stuck in that anger. I feel that the human, emotional side of us may feel anger alongside the compassion, sadness, and sympathy. On the other hand, the more spiritual and aware side of us may feel a sense of greater purpose to what happened --- i.e., understanding. (In other words, that what so tragically unfolded must have some purpose.

My point is that, as humans, we exist on those two very different levels: the human emotional one and the higher, spiritually aware one. It is navigating those rocky shoals and synthesizing those two levels that may be challenging. As you know, I feel that everything happens for a reason and I trust that good can come out of pain and difficulty. I trust that good can come out of this horror (a divided country pulling together, for example, a realization of what is important in life, or even possibly a stimulation of the economy). To see that there is a greater purpose can enable us to see that we are often actors playing our roles in the greater drama (while at the same time not minimizing the human component and pain). And yet we can still feel conflicted


So how do we respond? Do we stay stuck on our human angry level? Do we become xenophobic and label all "foreigners" or Muslims as terrorists? Or do we see the individual faces of terrorism, along with the seeds of fear and discontent that humankind may share?


When we are clear, we realize that we see the same forces of negativity and divisiveness -- anger, fear, hate, judgment, etc. -- in all extremists, whether Bible fundamentalists, Islamic extremists, terrorists, etc. Just as it is true that not all Christians or Jews are terrorists because we see some Christian or Jewish extremists, so is it true that not all Muslims are terrorists. Terrorism is a perversion of a belief in God or a Divine who is Benevolent. The common denominator among all extremists and terrorists, whether Islamic, Christian, or Jewish, is the anger/fear/judgment/lack of peace within. As we understand these things, our understanding may guide our response.  (Continued)



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