Dear Dr. T-Ruth:
9/11 changed my world view, painfully. Religion is being used is awful ways. Where does spirituality and “higher power” fit in a world where our humanity and truth are so wounded?
Seeking in Santa Fe
In 2003, Dick Cheney sent out a Christmas card that asked, “And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” This stamped the imperial project known as the “War on Terror” with the implied imprimatur of Divine Approval and assistance. The subtexts of this stamp of approval were clear: “Might makes right!” and “Those who value fairness, peace, consideration of the rights of others and the rule of international law are unholy chumps and losers.”
However, the person with truly spiritual values understands that Dick Cheney is a “false prophet” while the harsh reality is that the 9/11 attack plotters ushered in our current epoch – an historical moment which could better be described as “demonic”, rather than “Divinely Inspired”. If the Golden Rule and its interfaith variants are the basis for what are commonly understood as good or Divinely Inspired acts, then our government’s behavior continues to evince the diametric opposite: diabolical engagement with our world.
9/11/01 researcher and eminent theologian David Ray Griffin explains: “We can derive [from the Golden Rule] a large number of more specific rules, which refer to things that people universally would not want others to do to them or their loved ones, such as: Don’t murder other people. Don’t cause other people to starve. Don’t steal other people’s natural resources, such as their land, water, and oil. Don’t steal other people’s personal property. Don’t deprive others of their basic freedoms. Don’t cause others needless pain. Don’t terrorize other people. Don’t rape other people. Don’t humiliate other people.” Almost eighteen years on, the 9/11-justified War on Terror and systematic evisceration of our Constitution and Bill of Rights break every one of these injunctions every day, abroad and at home.
Narcissism expert Sam Vaknin posits that in an increasingly crowded world, psychopathic narcissists are elected to our highest offices because of, not despite, the fact that they are amoral monsters who believe laws don’t apply to them. Voters perceive psychopathic narcissists as being more able to deliver resources to support their lifestyles, while keeping them safe from the revenge of the world’s have-nots.
This seductive, unsustainable electoral strategy has spawned never-ending war and its attendant human and environmental horrors. It has made our nation a pariah in the eyes of the world. Our leaders have visited hell upon the blue orb we call home. We are mired in a spiritual crisis engendered by the largest, most rapacious empire the world has ever seen. If two thousand years ago Jesus pushed back against the Roman Empire, then we must find the fortitude to do the same now against our own.
“I see [God] as purely benevolent. For I can see that in the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists. Hence I gather that God is Life, Truth, and Light. [God] is Love. [God] is the Supreme Good.” – Mahatma Gandhi
I am neither religious nor particularly spiritual, but I struggle with the same existential concerns as everyone else: How do I use whatever freedom I possess to create the most intentional and meaningful life? How do I connect with people whose belief systems differ from my own? How do I confront the specter of death with regard to myself and my loved ones? How do I best employ my aptitudes and inclinations in service of making the world a better place for all?
A few years ago I took up meditation. I enjoy memorizing and was therefore drawn to “Passage Meditation”. In Passage Meditation, devotees memorize often ancient and always beautiful spiritual passages written by mystics from many of the great religious traditions, and then repeat them silently and slowly to themselves during their 30-minute meditations.
The catch? Most of the approved passages refer explicitly to God. Some may find this off-putting. But Passage Meditation encourages adherents to think of God as “the very ground of existence, the most profound thing we can think of.”
So I took Gandhi’s list – as referenced above – sprinkled in a few items of my own, and decided that my personal version of “God”, aka “That Which Is Most Profound”, would be an umbrella term for the principles of Life, Truth, Love, Courage, Peace, Beauty, Creativity and Joy. My meditation practice transformed into a source of grounding, deeply satisfying bliss, and for the first time I felt a kinship with religious people everywhere!
If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re a seasoned 9/11 Truth activist. If so, you’ve chosen to advocate on behalf of the most maligned and ridiculed notion in the marketplace of political ideas: that the staged events of September 11, 2001 were perpetrated by forces within our own government.
You’ve had your unique version of a “Come to Jesus” (“Aha!”) moment. You have been “saved” by researching and accepting the alternative evidence and its implications for your life’s path. You have resolved your cognitive dissonance by relinquishing your cherished beliefs in the essential goodness of our nation’s God-like authority figures. You’re “worshiping” with like-minded congregants in the “Church of 9/11 Truth.” And you are finding meaning in the “missionary work” you do to educate the unconverted, to bring the soap and water of critical thinking to the unwashed masses.
Because you love dualities, perhaps you also see your current self as fundamentally changed, as different from the pre-9/11 Truth-awakened you, maybe as smarter than – even superior to – those who have yet to see the light. You’re a member of an exclusive club, and you may even derive decidedly unspiritual narcissistic satisfaction from looking down your nose at the seemingly willfully ignorant masses that still haven’t “gotten it”. In a way, that’s the seeming bright side of this work, even if it is at times infused with some counterproductive arrogance.
More importantly though, by now you have found, or soon will find, like minded allies who share your analysis of what has gone terribly wrong with our country – new friends who are joining with you in the work of settings things right. And that is where the true bright side and the profoundly satisfying elements of this work lie!
But the gloomy part may well be persistent malaise – your never-ending sense of futility, hopelessness, and impending doom and disconnect from the mainstream of humanity. You hide your real, 9/11 Truth-infused self from your boss and co-workers. You experience a near-panic attack when forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at your professional organization’s monthly meeting. (Editor's Note: Does this really happen? i.e. How many people are forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at professional organizations? Many town meetings have this ritual.)
What to do? I’m still working this one out, but I do know that devotion to my spiritual practice helps. My practice of Passage Meditation consists of putting others first, maintaining one-pointed attention, slowing down, training the senses, spiritual reading, spiritual fellowship, choosing and repeating a mantra, and daily meditation – all of these to be done every day if possible.
Am I consistent? Not yet. But to the extent that I follow the program, I’m kinder, happier and more patient with myself and others. In short, through my personal spiritual practice I find myself to be a more content person and a more effective activist.
So, Dear Seeking, let’s make a pact, right here, right now. Stop compartmentalizing your life – if that is what you have been doing – with religion or spirituality in one cubby and activism in another. Take your personal spiritual practice, if it’s working for you, and apply it to your work as an advocate for 9/11 justice. Tweak it, if you must, to make it uniquely and perfectly adapted to you and your particular situation.
If you don’t have a spiritual practice, find one or create your own. You’re an excellent researcher, so it will be child’s play to discover the practice that’s got your name on it. And remember: to be a “Spiritual Warrior” speaks to an attitude of our heart and focus of our will – not what particular theology or lack thereof, we think of as being our brand.
Determine what is most important to you, what is most profound and enduring, what describes your vision of “Heaven on Earth”. Then get back to work at co-creating that vision with your allies. Practice gratitude at meals. Thank Mother Nature and the many laborers who brought you your food. Walk in nature, slow down, notice the beauty. See the good in people wherever you can, and let them know that you see and appreciate it. If it fits your spiritual constructs, ask God or the Great Spirit or the Universe for guidance and assistance. Watch the sunrise. Gaze at the stars. Be struck by the Great Mystery of our existence. Affirm that you are good and worthy – that you have a right to be here and a unique part to play in the healing of our planet.
“Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects,” said cowboy comedian Will Rogers. We Truthers are relatively informed on 9/11 and under-educated on many other matters. Now that we have “seen the Light,” we can take our new more enlightened selves back out into the public sphere and look for our thus far unconverted yet natural allies – those folks who are in the dark about 9/11 but informed on different subjects than we are. Like us they are likewise committed to peace, justice and what should be the American way. This is our common ground and our path to connection.
We psychotherapists say, “Start where the client is.” That applies equally well to activists: We connect with and influence others only to the extent that they feel accepted, respected, and heard. “Speak your truth quietly and clearly,” said Max Ehrmann in The Desiderata, “and listen to others, even the (seemingly) dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.” When we’re well-listened to, our defenses soften and we more readily consider new and challenging information.
We can think of “the unconverted” in our communities as our flocks and we – with genuine humility – as their ministers /rabbis/imams/gurus. We can steel ourselves to do a great deal of difficult listening, and allow ourselves to be imperfect, to be sometimes impatient (think of Jesus with the money changers), to be humble in the knowledge that our own understanding of important matters is also limited.
We all live in, and suffer from residing in, our Matrix world of 9/11 Untruth. But someone has to be your community’s champion for 9/11 Truth – someone who calls out “The emperor has no clothes!” who disseminates solid information, and who points to the light at the end of the tunnel. It might as well be you.
Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for? – Gimli, in the film The Return of the King
To share your concerns or stories, contact Dr. T-Ruth at dr-t-ruth [AT] 911tap [DOT] org.