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Caroline Myss


Surely many of you have felt just as confused as I, and perhaps are having many of the same reactions as I am right now. To begin with, I cannot seem to comprehend that the World Trade Center has actually been destroyed. I commute to New York City from Chicago on a regular basis, and always when landing, I saw those magnificent twins holding their iconic position on Manhattan Island. Witnessing their implosion yesterday and watching them crumble was an experience that I cannot find the words to describe. And I probably don't have to, since I am sure that all of you felt the same horror. The unimaginable was occurring right in front of our eyes. Without a doubt, the disaster that our country experienced yesterday will have consequences that will be felt from now until forever. I listened to General Colin Powell commenting about the terrorists who brilliantly mas terminded this crisis, saying that this was too well planned to be a one-time event. More horror is inevitable, but from where and from whom? The world has never before faced a faceless enemy. How do we defend ourselves? And what types of weapons will this enemy be willing to use? Germ warfare? bombs? At least during the Cold War there was an understanding that neither side would ultimately win a nuclear war. Nuking the enemy was the same as destroying one's own nation. So we stared at each other for decades until both sides admitted that they had created weapons that they would prefer never having to use. The world breathed a sigh of relief. Those behind these recent acts are clearly not so globally wise and compassionate. They may not view losing millions of people as a catastrophic event. Once a dear friend of mine made the insightful comment that he was not so foolish as to fight an enemy who is not afraid to die. Yesterday we witnessed terrorist pilots who were not afraid to die, to consciously sacrifice their lives for a cause--doing what for them was clearly an act of honor. This fact makes our opponents all the more frightening. So how should we respond? Should we go to war? According to the figures gathered by polls, almost ninety percent of Americans are in favor of military retaliation. Maybe that percentage will drop by tomorrow or next week, but for now the vast majority of this nation is prepared to go to war. Now, however, we must realize that the destruction that wars have created elsewhere can, and probably will, happen on our own soil. We have never prepared ourselves for doing battle in the streets of New York City, or Washington, D.C., or anywhere else. We never thought that we were vulnerable to invasion of any kind, which makes this event all the more traumatizing. In attacking the two targets that represented the "invincibility" of this nation--its finances and its military--these terrorists communicated the message that we are as vulnerable to destructive forces as any other nation. In their minds at least, our Golden Days have come to an end. While most of us would prefer to believe otherwise, it may not be inaccurate to say that in bombing our financial and military headquarters, they struck two other targets even more important to our survival, namely, our Bill of Rights and our Constitution, for never again will we be as free as we were prior to this disaster. Part of the government's response will be to clamp down on some of our freedoms and to restrict our lives in subtle ways. You can assume that security measures in airports will become tighter than we've ever known. One pilot told me that curbside check-in of luggage is already a thing of the past. Luggage can be randomly searched now. And who knows what other forms of security policies are going to be introduced into our lives? What if we have to begin taking "papers" with us in order to get into certain public buildings? Outrageous? So is suicide bombing New York City. Outrageous things happen precisely because we think they are too outrageous to happen. The perspectives of positive attitude and spiritual oneness that characterize the human consciousness movement are like wiring that has been put into place during the past forty years. Now these perspectives need to be animated more than ever so that our world does not fall prey to the darkness of suspicion and hatred that terrorist attacks automatically inspire. We have spent years preparing to be spiritually effective, and I hope that we will respond in some measure with wisdom and compassion. Otherwise we are in danger of entering the same kind of cycle of suicide bombings and military reprisals that we have witnessed in the Middle East over the past decade. But can we pull it off? One person emailed me saying that he would like to hold to a higher perspective, but all he can think of right now is "taking out" the enemy. He said that he always criticized people in other nations who would not forgive and concentrate on finding ways to live in peace. Yet now, he writes, "I cannot move past wanting to see those who did this wiped out. I don't want to feel this way, but I do--and I don't want to pretend that I don't." I have a great deal of respect for this man's honesty, because he risked the response of his peers who might be inclined to deny they felt those same emotions. In being candid about his response, he does more to serve the healing of this crisis than someone who represses those feelings while volunteering to give blood. Confronting the truth within and recognizing the spiritual gap that exists between potentially enlightened feelings and actual, darker ones begins the clearing out of the unconscious. You invite into the light your spiritual incongruities. The author of the email remarked that a few people said that feelings such as his lacked compassion, to which he said, "I'm not ready to be compassionate, but at least when I am ready, those feelings will be genuine." It is difficult not to share this man's sentiments. In trying to imagine what lies ahead of us, I feel waves of rage rush through me at the very thought that a mere handful of individuals is now holding the entire world hostage. It's not just us, it's every nation that now has to live on constant alert. Our military and government officials are openly discussing their fears of germ warfare, enemy tactics for which there are no successful ways to protect our population. How can we not feel rage? The way of life of the entire planet was changed forever on Tuesday. I heard one man say that we should not overreact, that this is only one act of terrorism, after all. I wanted to shake him like a rag doll. Yes, these bombings do represent one three-part act of terrorism. But from a symbolic perspective, they represent the emergence of enemies that cannot be fought successfully with all the weaponry we have, because we don't know where they are or in how many countries they are hiding. Our leaders fear that these people would not hesitate to use the most lethal of weapons, sacrificing even their own members to accomplish their goals. Months ago I wrote a column about the spiritual significance of the Sacred Contract of this nation. If I have guidance of any value to offer in the midst of this nightmare, I have to base it on my experience with so many people during the past twenty years. What I have to say will sound contradictory, and perhaps it is, but these are my thoughts. Because of the way we have lived in this country for the most part--protected, safe, well-fed, free--we are also extremely naive about what could happen to us. We think, "Oh, the government won't let this happen," or "Come on, now, things are never going to get that bad." To that I would now say, "Look alive. They can get that bad." As I watched television this evening, I saw the army covering Washington, D.C., like a war zone. I saw men armed with weapons that could wipe out five hundred people before needing to reload--all standing on Pennsylvania Avenue. What if that's the way it's going to be from now on? Impossible? This incident has told us that what happens elsewhere can easily happen here, so why not martial law? Peter Jennings interviewed a government spokesman this evening and the topic was whether we would have to give up some of our civil liberties for the sake of security. God help us all if it comes to that, for it would mean that these planetary criminals will have done what no other foe has managed to accomplish: they will have brought us to our Constitutional knees. We must always keep in mind that once a freedom is revoked, it is never returned. I fear for that now because it can happen. Now I am prepared to recognize that anything can happen--poisoned water supplies, toxic germs sprayed into tunnels, anything. A segment on the news brought up security around the February Olympics in Salt Lake City, noting that the majority of organizational efforts being put into place have to do with terrorist protection. Terrorists are even controlling our sports events. I am only listing the tip of the gargantuan iceberg that we are now facing, for we are living a type of scenario that is a cross between the archetype of the Titanic (we never thought anything could sink us), and Pearl Harbor (the explosion of our bubble of impregnability). (How curious that major movies were recently and released on these two events.) But we have been preparing ourselves for years to rely on perceptions of a higher order, like group meditation and prayer, as a response in times of darkness. We need to do that now more than ever. Let me suggest that we agree to send positive thoughts to the planetary community each day, and not just for world peace. And if any of you has a suggestion that would benefit all of us as we move together through this storm, please share it. We also need to pray for the innocent people who may end up paying the price for the actions of a few. I saw on the news this evening, for example, a story about how many Arab Americans have been attacked in retaliation for the recent acts of terrorism. I realize as I write this that I am communicating with you as if we are at war, but according to what I am hearing on the news and the language being used by our leaders, we ARE at war. I am going to share a story with you as a closing thought. During World War II, a psychic named Tudor Pole was an adviser to Winston Churchill. (Turning to psychics and astrologers as well as others skilled at alchemical arts has never been an uncommon practice among world leaders.) Tudor suggested to Churchill that he urge the British people to hold Britain in their thoughts every evening at 9:00 P.M. for one minute. This became known as the "silent minute." Whether this collective effort helped protect Britain from invasion will never be known. All we know is that the island was never conquered. And incidentally, after the war, papers were found in Nazi records noting that Britain had a "secret weapon" connected to Big Ben, but they were never able to identify the nature of that weapon. So, shall we meet each evening at 9 o'clock? God Bless You All Caroline