In America, the bells will toll all over this land in commemoration of 9/11. With all the tragedies, anguish and loss since then in every region of the world --- most caused or at least, worsened indirectly by man's own lack of leadership, greed, ineffectiveness, will for power, lust for war or inhuman treatment of their brothers and sisters or disregard and disrespect for living creatures that inhabit this planet, it is hard to just think of our tragedy. One would think that 9/11 would have led us to be more caring and thoughtful of others, but the deaths, disregard, disrespect of human life we have caused as a nation since that horrific day doesn't speak well of lessons learned. Instead we continue to:
- point fingers
- call people degrading names and make fun of them
- allow our dedicated service men and women to be abused by leadership failures
- kill and maim innocents without proper respect and care
...and never stop to examine the root cause of all the hatred felt for our country around the world. It's not our freedom people abhor, is it really? Or is it our behavior and actions --- our contemptuous approach? Our demands on others, while we ravage others' resources, break laws and violate trust of our neighbors, creating a breeding ground for the world's disgust of our policies and practices.
This day for the sake of lives lost calls for self-examination, don't you think?
First, we must start with the long-awaited "Report on the Iraq War" by General Petraeus on Monday. I know the Iraq War has nothing to do with 9/11 --- but this is why today was such a sham. It was disrespectful to the tragedy of 9/11 and its aftermath to listen to another bunch of gobbledygook no one would understand --- obviously prepared to deceive and deflect any real accountability. At this senior executive level of "reporting" if it were done in a business, it demand measuring RESULTS against PLAN. There was little one could decipher as RESULTS reported. There was what I learned in management school was called X=GOOD statements flying around all day long. They appeared to really tell us nothing different than we were told last time, which was NOTHING.
I think I heard something at one point fly out of General Petraeus' mouth that sounded a lot like "deaths are down 55% --- 55% of WHAT and SINCE WHEN and WHERE? Throwing out numbers that don't add up and connect to nothing does not inform the American public, nor justify the human treasure lost and $450,472,654,000 + cost of the IRAQ WAR. This kind of reporting from the TOP BRASS surprised me actually. I expected more. They are the ones that taught us HOPE is not a METHOD; EFFORT is not a RESULT. One is left feeling duped.
The American People have spoken;
unfortunately, no one is listening. Why do we accept this?
When the tragedies of the world trouble me, like they do with the passing of this symbolic day of remembrance of all tragedies, I find strength in voices that echo from the great sages of history---from the role models who inspired change in individuals and the world in ways that endure. Today, I heard three of their voices calling out to me...
Nelson Mandela spoke to me. The memory of his courageous journey told in Long Walk to Freedom remains with me. "I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. ...For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of devotion to freedom is just beginning," he reminded me.
I also came across a page where I had written a quote from Paramahansa Yogananda that a friend shared with me some time ago. He reminded me to stoke the embers inside, because there remains much work to do. “To be alive is to be on fire with purpose, to move forward with undaunted determination toward a goal. Many people think great things but do not act on them. However it is the activity that creates the greatness.” The Life of Paramahansa Yogananda
But what difference can I make? There are days when I worry that my work, my actions and passions are not enough. I see so much need. I feel so inadequate, don't you. Today is a reminder. However, Mandela and Yogananda had me thinking and feeling a sense of urgency about what I've been called to do. As I walked by my bookshelf this this morning in quiet desperation, a little book of Gandhi's wisdom caught my eye. I opened it at random and he spoke again,
"Good travels at a snail's pace. Those who want to do good are not selfish, they are not in a hurry, they know that to impregnate people with good requires a long time. ...The trial of one's conviction is just beginning. Greatness in contribution requires action. Doing the good requires selflessness and patience."
Let this day be a day of commemoration for all human tragedy, not just our own. May we leave it with a sense of personal responsibility to create a better world than we know today, one action, one behavior, one person at a time.
The great sages are speaking to you in the distance?? Listen.
Founder of the Global Dialogue Center
Come visit us ... www.globaldialoguecenter.com