Guest Blogger: Jonna Rae Bartges at the Unity Church of Asheville North Carolina • September 11, 2011
A few years ago, a very clever list circulating in cyberspace was titled, “How to Maintain a Healthy level of Insanity.” One of the suggestions was to wear the biggest pair of sunglasses you own and sit in your parked car, pointing a hairdryer at passing motorists to see if they slow down.
Another one said to page yourself over the intercom, without disguising your voice.
I also really liked specifying that your drive-through order is “To Go.”
But my personal favorite was, end all your sentences with “According to the prophecy.” Although this suggestion was hysterically funny years ago, right about now it all seem kind of…wellllll…prophetic.
According to many prophecies, the end of days would be signaled with the start of a war in the cradle of civilization – or, as we now know it, Iraq.
Ten years ago on this very day, that trigger was pulled. When pilots crashed planes into the World Trade Towers in the name of Radical Islam, the US government set in motion plans to attack Iraq.
There were examples of unbelievable heroism on 9-11. The first responders – police, firefighters, paramedics – raced into the chaos that transformed New York, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania into little pieces of hell. People working or living in those areas helped each other escape, or heal body, mind and spirit in the days, weeks and years since 9-11.
Particularly burned into our consciousness from the countless reports we heard that day was what happened on United Flight 93 – Newark to San Francisco. When hijackers took over the flight, intending to slice the plane into either the White House or the Capital Building – it’s still not clear which was the target – passengers on the doomed aircraft ended up fighting back. Linked to his horrified wife through his cell phone, passenger Todd Beamer led the counterattack with the battle cry, “Let’s roll!”
The passengers managed to thwart the hijacker’s plan to make the plane a weapon of mass destruction in Washington DC, and they died heroes. They refused to just sit back and be spectators to the horrific plan being played out – they decided to make their lives count for something. They passionately fought for what they believed in, even when it seemed futile.
Their courage, the magnitude of what they prevented, and the rallying cry, “Let’s roll,” reverberate in our hearts. It’s a challenge to us to stand up for what we believe in, no matter what the odds.
A huge part of the fallout from the events of that day, one decade ago, is how easy it can be to get sucked into a lower consciousness vibration of suspicion and fear. As one Muslim cleric lamented, “The terrorists didn’t’ just hijack planes – they hijacked Islam.” At the core of Islam, which shares roots with Judaism and Christianity, are peace, love and belief in the sanctity of life. The terrorists who pulled off the events on 9-11 are no more representative of Islam than David Koresh or Warren Jeffs is representative of Christianity.
Despite racial profiling and some inflammatory political pundits on TV, a recent CBS News/New York Times poll found that 78 percent of Americans think Muslims and Arab-Americans are unfairly singled out.
I’m happy to report there are more encouraging stories of friendship and acceptance, like the one in Cordova, TN, by Memphis. Dr. Bashar Shala started building an Islamic center right across the street from the Christian Heartsong Church two years ago. The pastor, Steve Stone, put up a sign welcoming them to the community and even made his church available to his new neighbors during Ramadan, a high holy celebration in Islam, while their center was under construction. A few people left the church in protest, but the vast majority supported the show of Christ-like compassion, knowing how it helped heal lingering wounds from 9-11.
There’s the unlikely story of two mothers – one who lost a son in the collapse of the towers, and another whose son was convicted of being one of the terrorists behind the attack. When the women met, they felt an immediate bond in their shared grief. They speak at conferences about the necessity of forgiveness, and the need to squelch violence with compassion, and find common ground.
Not too long ago I had a disturbing vision, where my black lab Bear and I ended up at a strange looking house. A woman there was trying to convince me that segregation was not only OK; it was mandatory for keeping “those people” in their place. I violently disagreed with her, but before I responded, I went up in consciousness to tune in to her. I immediately saw her eyes were completely black and her skin was covered with boils – she was a demon, trying to pass for a human, and her devastating weapon of choice was to try to create suspicion and division among people on earth.
If we can be seduced to sit in judgment on those who are different races, creeds, economic status or any other fabricated criteria, we are chipping away at our humanity, our compassion, and our divine moral core. This dream vision dramatically showed me the necessity of constantly being in discernment; never willingly giving away our power and common sense to any individual or “cause.”
No matter how dark forces try to twist our words and ideas, we have free will. We can raise our consciousness as easily as taking a deep, cleansing breath – let’s do that together right now — and catapult into a higher state of awareness. Darkness is the absence of light; evil is the absence of good. Fear is the absence of faith.
By focusing on bringing more light, and good, and faith into our own life, we heal it, and we help heal the world. Each of us has limitless power to be a beacon of light and goodness, faith and compassion. It starts with discernment, and the desire to make a positive difference with our life.
This 10-year anniversary of 9-11 can and SHOULD make us think about what matters…what are you willing to stand up for, just like Todd Beamer and all those other passengers on Flight 93. What are you willing to fight for? What are you passionate about? The Dali Lama says compassion is his religion. Let’s all convert to this religion of compassion – and heal any residual energy of 9-11 by truly being the brilliant, loving, compassionate people our pets THINK we are.
In the Old Testament, which Islam embraces, the book of Micah, chapter 6, verse 6, the scripture asks, what does God want from us? Does He want burnt offerings? Thousands of rams, or rivers of fragrant oils, or what about my first-born?
The prophet answered,
“He has told you, o man, what is good:
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice… to love kindness…
And to walk humbly with your God.”
I challenge you to follow this simple, heart-felt instruction. From something as easy as kindly smiling at other shoppers in the grocery store to donating that coat you haven’t worn in two years, or mowing a sick neighbor’s lawn, collecting canned goods for Manna food bank, or letting someone cut in front of you in traffic – kindness and good will and compassion are not just what God WANTS us to – they’re contagious. Make a decision to do one good deed a day.
Start a “Chats for Change” circle, where you meet with like-minded people to share ideas, and build a strong spirit of community. Go to HarmonyforHumanity.org for more information on how to do that, or talk to Robert Akers if you’re finally ready to “Be the Change.”
By doing ANY of these things, not only can we heal the memory of 9-11, but we can actively help create that age of peace and goodwill that’s just around the corner — according to the prophecy.
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C 2011 Jonna Rae Bartges