I love America.
Yes. The United States of America is needed. You and I are needed. We have work that is uniquely ours to do. Ours is a place essential to the world as a place of ideas, exchange, and human evolution.
In addition, the United States of America is a place of problem solving, which is good because the world has a lot of problems.
So, make no mistake, we will not be destroyed. Not by outside forces. Why? Because we have work to do and and service to perform.
We are good problem solvers because we are here to serve as problem solvers. With great talent comes great responsibility.
But as long as there is hunger, poverty, disease, despair and the mercilessness of war, we have not lived up to our potential as a people or as a nation, nor have we adequately assisted the world to live up to its potential.
Yet, our insistence and belief in ourselves - that we can do whatever we set our minds to - is a quality that some have labeled arrogance, but is our strength and our truth.
Individually - and as a nation - we are doing what we came here to do which is to transcend concerns about survival and lift the world up.
And like everyone on earthevery person, every nation, for there are no exceptionswe have made mistakes while on this path.
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Everyone Makes Mistakes
Collectively and historically we have made terrible mistakes. To deny this is to lie to ourselves, and to extinguish the possibility of improvement.
We stepped on minorities. There were times we were ignorant. Prejudiced. Ugly. Hateful. Vicious.
We put loyal Japanese Americans in labor camps during WWII. We attempted to extinguish freedom of thought, speech and expression in the McCarthy era. We are the only nation on earth that dropped nuclear bombs on human beingson civiliansin two cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Our nation enslaved, lynched and denied basic human rights. And it's looking, now, as though invading Iraq was a deliberate atrocity born not out of real danger, but out of arrogance and an economic and political agenda known as "disaster capitalism."
Ignoring the U.N. and scorning our friends and allies is not what the world expects from us. And the abuses against prisoners have had the international community and human rights organizations shaking their heads in shock and disappointment.
They expected better from us.
But let us not ignore the fact that America, as a whole, has developed a conscience and granted freedom. It's clear that, over time, we are progressing. So let's not wallow in our mistakes.
Let us admit them, apologize for them, personally and collectively, openly make whatever amends we can for them and, then, go on because continued guilt over the past is worse than useless. It will cripple us, psychologically, if we hang on to it.
The fact is that, as a nation, we are still learning and changing, and most of us want to do the right thing. So let us align ourselves, not with our egos or fears, but with love and let love guide us in doing the right thing, now.
Let us focus on a goal that will lift us up, rather than knock us down.
Since most of us believe in God, we believe it is possible to accomplish any goal; even the goal of creating a peaceful world.
So once we make up our minds to pursue a goal, we will never, never take no for an answer and we will never accept anything as impossible.
There are many theories in regard to why we were attacked and why we are embroiled in a conflict with the Mid-East.
Some propose that it is because the Muslim religion is only fourteen hundred years old and is at the point, as was Christianity in its fourteenth hundred year, where adherents view everyone else as "infidels" who must either be converted or destroyed.
This does not explain the hundreds of millions of peace loving Muslims who do not want to go to war against anyone.
Neither does it explain the fact that there are many modern day Christians who have no tolerance for other religions. The most powerful proof of this is the Holocaust. During World War II Christians attempted to rid the world of Jews through extermination.
So the claim that the religion and/or adherents of Christianity have matured and are more tolerant toward other religions than that of Muslim believers has no credibility.
Others say all conflicts are over economic disparities; the "have-nots" hating the "haves."
Certainly desperation breeds rash acts, but Osama Bin Laden, for example, was a billionaire. He, personally, lacked for nothing material. Yet he hated the U.S. with fierce passion and wished to destroy her.
Others insist that the key to all the conflict between the U.S. and the Mid-East is the need for oil. Some believe the current war against Iraq is a power play over who shall control access to Iraqi oil reserves.
Yet, the U.S. is dependent upon many nations for goods. We haven't started a war with Canada because we want her lumber.
So, although all the these issues are significant and contribute to the over all conflict, they are not, themselves, the root cause.
So what is the root cause of this conflict?
The Root Cause of Conflict
The root cause of conflict is the existence of fear and hate within the human subconscious.
Unfortunately, few people know or realize that the subconscious "calls the shots" in terms of what we do. Neither do they realize that they are greatly influenced by their own emotional or biological reactions, which they then justify with reason.
Since the subconscious is hidden, one must look for clues as to what is there. Like an iceberg, although you see very little evidence of it on the surface, it is a huge presence.
Make no mistake: if the subconscious contains enough beliefs that conflict with your conscious desires, it will sabotage what you are, consciously, trying to accomplish.
The subconscious is the key to ALL self-sabotage; to plans that go wrong because we were blind to unseen forces working counter to success.
The reason there is so much discord is because the overall state of the world is a stewa mix of, mostly, the results of everyone's subconscious fears and conflicting beliefs.
To add another wrinkle, if a person's subconscious beliefs are not congruent with what he thinks are his conscious beliefs, there is even more discord within him that will express, in some way.
Those inner conflicts will affect how he deals with the world and the energy he sends into it, every day. The energy he creates through his thoughts, words and deeds will affect and contribute to every event that occurs in his family, neighborhood, state, country and world.
The energy that he (and each of us) contributes to a these collectives may be small, depending on how far removed they are from us, but what we hold in our minds and send out can be the straw that breaks the camel's back, in terms of making a bad situation worse.
I cannot stress this too strongly: to the extent that your psyche wrestles with inner conflict, you contribute behaviors which promote conflict within these collectives.
However, the reverse is also true, and this is where our hope lies: to the extent that your psyche is free from repressed hate, resentment, anger and the inner conflict it creates, you will have a happier life yourself and contribute peace to every group to which you belong.
And we can heal, every one of us.
We aren't taught how, in schools, but that may change.
Know this: all you need is the intention to heal. Then, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, God will show you the way.
You will be lead so you are a force for peace, healing and joy.
Yet, we must beware of thinking ourselves healed before we are.
For example, the person who labels himself a peace advocate, yet calls people names, throws stones at police, or condones violence "for peace" is fooling himself and sabotaging his own cause by accomplishing the opposite of what he says he wants to do. He is, quite possibly, a bigger problem than the person against whom he rails, because he is dishonest. He blames others for behaviors in which he also engages.
Likewise, anyone who wages a hateful war against those with whom he disagrees is not healed. People who support any "cause," to the point of hating, insulting or trying to injure those who do not agree with them, live in glass houses while they throw stones.
Through the hate in their hearts, through their disregard for others, they contribute mightily to the situation that irks them. This is the catch22 of being against people and ideas.
The position of power that accomplishes real change is to be for what you want, not against what you don't want.
The emotion of power that accomplishes miracles is to love so well as to be empty of hate.
And that happens - automatically - when we heal ourselves of the inner discord that plagues us.
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Do You Want To Be Part of the Solution or the Problem?
There was a saying in the nineteen sixties: if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem and this is still true.
There are few people on earth who will not feel fear and hate under certain circumstances, and the person who cannot be touched in a positive way by profound love is rare.
If a person never feels fear or hate it is because he is numb, in denial or haswith great intentiontrained his mind to perceive the world in a way that does not require fear or hate to survive.
So which way do you think we are going, because a case can be made either way, depending upon what you are seeing.
The alarming increase in road rage, in occupational anger and in the overall feeling most people have that intolerance is growing may indicate that fear and anger are widely present in society, commanding greater and greater expression. Certainly
the ads we see on television for video games that extol war and violence seem to be increasing.
The fact we are engaged in a war means we have fear and anger to express, in abundance. Yet, what does it mean that we entered into a war that is debilitating us?
- What does it mean when we enter a war thinking only Iraqis will be hurt, only to find that tens of thousands of our soldiers have sustained horrible injuries and are returning home forever scarred?
- What does it mean when we enter a war to assert our power and influence and wind up with less of both?
- What does it mean when we enter a war to reshape the Middle-East so it cannot resist what we desire and find our entire country being reshaped?
- What does it mean to enter a war seeking glory and economic prosperity only to be brought low by the nine trillion-dollar debt incurred to fight that war?
It means that we had better start following the golden rule. Because whatever we do to others will be done to us. More importantly, if our government hurts others in our name, it will come back on us because we are responsible for the government we elect.
In short, we are being shown we must be more responsible as voters and we must evolve as a nation and learn empathy.
We can fear this change. We can react in hate, violence, conflict or confusion - in the old ways - and bring even more negative things upon our country. We can try to deny the consequences and paint them in a sunny light. We can choose to deny that we are reaping what we sowed.
Or we can see that, given our level of sophistication, this emergence of our dark side is a call to face the worst in ourselves and heal.
One thing must be made clear. We cannot waste time blaming ourselves for feeling and expressing fear and anger.
The ability to feel and respond to fear and anger is imbedded in our nervous systems as a requirement for survival. It's know as "the fight or flight response" and is part of our nature. In primitive times, it served us well and kept us alive.
Therefore, our intention must not be to condemn or vilify our nature, or rid ourselves of it because we cannot. Instead, we are to transcend it by going the next step in our spiritual evolution as a species.
So if you want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, you must accept the challenge to transcend the conflicts within your own psyche.
This is what The Course In Miracles was devised to do. It is a method for changing perception so you see in a way that dissolves your inner conflicts.
It is a way of atonement that is not related to punishment in any way. It focuses, instead, on the undoing of human beliefs and "error thinking" (and the results of both) which are opposed to God's real thoughts, which are grounded in pure peace, love, compassion and generosity.
So this is the challenge each of us faces in this new century because as the Course In Miracles says in its first two sentences: "It is crucial to say first that this is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary."
We are called to align with the Force that powers us and learn how not to deny nor fight the duality of our human nature but make peace with it.
As we make peace with the fact of our duality, the hate and fear within us will diminish.
As our internal landscapes change, we will both experience and create a more peaceful world.
Just as America was the land of the great experiment of Democracy and political freedom, so can we now stand up and be the land of another great experiment: Peace and freedom from conflict.
We can heal the world by healing ourselves.
Therefore, let us thirst for that goal with the same longing we have to keep our children safe.
Let us thirst for that goal with the same thirst we have to know God.
I invite every American to step up to this challenge. For no one is too old or too young or out of shape to serve in this cause. We are all needed by God for this one.
Decide today to become part of the solution to violence and conflict.
The fate of the world awaits your decision.
And, of the lives you save, one will be your own.
May you go with God.