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Editor's Note: While this article was written at the closing of 2001, it is still appropriate even at this later date.
As I write this, the year 2001 is coming to an end. History will record this year as the year in which the World Trade Center towers fell. History will know this year as the Year of September 11. History will be a witness to the massive grief and shock that we all felt when we first heard the news with incredulity and foreboding. History will surely judge us by our actions in response to these brutal acts.
In this hour of continuing personal grief for so many, I join with the rest of America in praying for the souls of the departed and their families, and for the quick recovery of the injured. As someone who spends the majority of his time in the US and feels love for the often-breathtaking beauty of the land and the everlasting warmth of her people, I was personally shaken by such a tragedy. This is indeed a time of grief and reflection not only for a nation, but for all of humanity.
More Than We Can Bear?
On the day of the attacks, the then-mayor of New York said the final body count would be more than we could bear. I had not heard such foreboding words in many years, and they were all the more tragic because it was the probable truth behind his words that brought such a sense of heavy expectancy.
The attacks were horrifying to us not because of the magnitude of destruction they wrought, not because they occurred in our backyard, not because they threatened our sense of security in our very homes, but ultimately because of our inability to understand the depth of hatred that lay behind these actions. There is a wall of unknowability of the sheer rage exhibited by such actions. What could drive someone, a human being, to purposely sacrifice his own life to kill and maim thousands of innocent others in order to make a point?
When I see the horrific aftermath of this and other attacks, I often ask, "What point could possibly have been so important to cause such bloodshed?" What cause could possibly have been so crucial to cause bodies and limbs to rain down on the streets of New York City? What national or international interest is so paramount that innocent babies have to be riddled with nails from a crude bomb or a child be shot and bleed to death next to his father?
We feel anger, rage, and a need to revenge ourselves upon the perpetrators of these terrible deeds. We want justice done, which often means inflicting the same or greater amount of pain upon the parties we believe responsible. However, when the emotions of the moment pass -- and they will pass -- and we have performed these "acts of justice," we are often left with an empty feeling of loss and sadness. Ultimately we are left asking, "Why do such things happen, and continue to happen?"
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A Vicious Cycle
These things continue to happen because some basic needs of a large number of our fellow human beings are not being met. We all have basic needs that have to be fulfilled, chief among them are the needs for safety and recognition. When someone threatens our safety, we respond with anger. When we are helpless against such threats, we feel despair or fear. We then ask someone to recognize our fear and come to our aid. If no one does, we feel a betrayal.
A combination of despair, fear, and betrayal will cause someone to lash out against real and imagined enemies, causing more of the same in others. It is a vicious cycle indeed. A cycle of hatred unleashed can wreak destruction for generations to come. Just witness the world today.
A Choice Lies Before Us
A choice lies before us today. Should we add to the cycle by blaming someone and taking our vengeance? I am not asking the USA to not defend herself and her citizens from such attacks. I am not asking the USA to not respond appropriately to those responsible for such deeds. However, I am asking the USA to recognize the fear, desperation, and betrayal in large parts of the world that precipitated today's tragedy.
The only way to dissolve such intense negativity will be to give each human being on Earth a sense of security and recognition -- security to feel safe in her own little corner of Earth and a general recognition of each human being as a unique person.
I am asking the USA as the only superpower in the world to take the lead in stopping this wheel of vendetta, once and for all, through acts of wisdom and understanding. More blood need not be shed. May God's blessings fall upon the victims of this horrible tragedy. May God's strength be with those who have to deal with the aftermath. And may God's mercy guide the hands of those who seek to bring those responsible to answer for their deeds.
For now, let us pray that we, as humanity, find the wisdom and courage in our belief in our Oneness to co-create a world where such tragedies are unknown. Let us realize that we are all Earth Humans -- of Earth and not of any one nation, religion, or ethnicity.
Let us pray.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Hampton Roads. ©2002.
The Twelve Enlightenments for Healing Society
by Ilchi Lee.
Dr. Ilchi Lee introduced thousands of Western readers to Dahn Hak, a spiritual revolution that is swiftly spreading through his native Korea and the world. In The Twelve Enlightenments for Healing Society, Dr. Lee pushes his spiritual movement a step further, offering readers the practical tools to "stop seeking enlightenment and start acting it." He shows readers how to become what he calls "Enlightened Activists" and push past the artificial boundaries of institutions that prevent us from realizing we are all members of the human society, or Earth-Humans. Dr. Lee takes the reader on the journey towards that enlightenment through twelve practical yet spiritual steps. changing our perspective from the individual, the single religion, or separate nation to a global awareness. This is not a futuristic goal, the author assures us. "The Earth-Human is no longer a conceptual idea--it is already our reality."
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About the Author
Dr. llchi Lee is the founder of the modern Dahn Hak movement, a traditional Korean system of physical and mental exercises that seeks to use the energy, or "Ki," system of the body to attain a spiritual awakening. Dr. Lee is the author of numerous books, several musical CDs, and is a well-known lecturer on spiritual health and enlightenment. You can find more information about Dr. Lee and Dahn Hak at https://www.ilchi.com/