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SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 AND THE UNIVERSAL WORSHIP
By Prajapati O'Neill, Dean of the
So many have spoken so deeply and
eloquently about the tragedy of September 11, 2001 it prompts me to wonder
if more needs to be said. Perhaps
What comes from my own depth is to
encourage each of us to feel fully what is in our hearts: shock, grief,
disbelief, numbness, anxiety, anger, sadness, fear, consternation, determination,
hope. What is remarkable about the
We have all been deeply moved by
the chorus of voices of the leaders and
Clearly, if the spirit of this Message which is the spirit of the Universal Worship, the Church of All and of All Churches were universally recognized, events like this could not happen, nor could many of the events that lie behind them as "causes." And yet we humans go on in this insane cycle of violence, hatred, and fear. The world is an excruciatingly complex place; simple and certain answers (which are what fundamentalists seek above all else) rarely match the reality of life. On one hand we all know how to respond with compassion for the victims, true justice for those who act in this manner, determination to work for the forces of tolerance and light. On the other hand, it seems to me part of the experience also is to be overwhelmed, bewildered, and conflicted. This puts us in that precarious place of holding the darkness in one hand and the light in the other, of saying "no" to one and "yes" to the other, and finally "yes" to both the "no" and "yes;" and, ultimately, "yes" to life.
and an earlier message...
I find myself still deep in the shock and grief of the events of September 11. Living so close to NYC it is an especially powerful presence. Even as life begins to return to "normal" I realize somehow things will never be the same. I also realize that we are experiencing the kind of tragedy and destruction that millions around the world have had to live with throughout human history. Finally I realize that the perpetrators of these actions were motivated not just by hatred and evil but must have had a deep conviction that what they were doing was right and good. This is perhaps the most shocking realization of all -- how much evil is done in the world in the name of good, in the name of God, in the name of making the world a better place. How should we grasp this? That is one of the deepest koans of the inner path.
I would like to share a poem that expresses my realization about this whole experience. I have posted it to several other lists and received encouragement to share it with a wider circle, so it goes out to all of you from my heart, with love and tears.
Peace, peace, peace,
A VISION OF THE BODY HUMAN
"One who recognizes all men as members
of his own body
So caught by my own reflection
We have always been only one life,
Programmed for animal survival we
Butcher and victim reside in every
In Hiroshima bodies vaporized by
Of course there is always natural
loss, the payment to inevitable time,
Seen from afar this morning