Terrorism: A Call to Prayer
A week ago the carnage in Paris happened. As I shook off the shock, grateful to be technically out of harm’s way, along with my sadness I felt the urge to do something helpful. From the United States, and not being in the military, not being a doctor or nurse, not being a politician or security expert, I recognized the one function I could fulfill that would actually do some good. In the terrorist acts in Paris I recognized a call to prayer.
So I lit a candle and prayed for humanity. I prayed for guidance, for help in keeping myself straight amidst the frightful news and for help in how I might best serve our Creator. I prayed for all the broken-hearted souls. I prayed for the victims and the perpetrators and all involved in recovering from these barbaric acts—medical workers, families, friends, police, military, intelligence and our leaders. I prayed that we learn the lessons presented and foster peace on Earth. My own fear exposed, I prayed for peace of mind, for healing the loss of my sense of safety. I prayed that we would retaliate not from a place of hatred, but from the loving wisdom which knows that when we humans are making big spiritual mistakes (such as “acting like a terrorist” or “acting like a murderer”), for everyone’s highest good we must be stopped. I have not stopped praying, and more prayers are coming to me.
I pray that our great country does not respond simply from fear, but instead embodies the principles of religious liberty and “all are created equal” upon which we came together. It is appropriate that we exercise caution—not only around whom we allow to immigrate here, but also around what we call “evil” and the measures we take to protect ourselves. Terrorist actions are evil—completely veiled or cut off from the Love of God. As such they are also insane, for the mind that denies Love, The Source of All That Is, is necessarily logically uprooted from Source-Created reality.
Terrorism and its acts are evil. But the souls that commit terrorist acts are lost, and they will thrash out an egoic or fearful path in any ideology they identify with—even when it is not inherent. Thus the regretful legacy of the Christian Crusades, while Christianity itself is not evil. If a vegetarian goes on a murderous rampage, raving on behalf of rutabagas, blowing up any vegetable or fruit that is not a “good” or “righteous” rutabaga, does that make vegetarianism or rutabagas evil?
The religion of Islam is not evil; instead, like most other religions, it is founded upon the Love of God. Radical extremists can and do misunderstand any religion founded on Love. Because any teaching of Love contains crucial subtleties that are amputated by the dull knives of narrow dogmatism. If we allow our modes of protection to treat Islam or Muslims as evil we are betraying ourselves spiritually. The ideals of liberty and equality are key among the greatest spiritual principles of our time. Let us respond to the larger human tragedy as spiritual people devoted to liberty and equality, as a people who revere the Love of God while allowing individuals to worship in freedom. Let us respond ecumenically, pan-denominationally, grounded in reality and with the utmost sensitivity.
Beloved Father-Mother-Creator-God-Great Spirit,
Hear my prayer.
Guide me to honor and live the principles of Truth:
Ishq Allah Ma’bud Líllah
You are at once The Lover, The Beloved and Love Itself.
I am created in Your Image along with all brothers and sisters.
Help me to embody in holiness The Lover, The Beloved and Love Itself.
Help me to honor You.
In gratitude I affirm,
And so it is.
I’m lighting the candle now, as I post this. In the manner of your choosing, will you join me on planet Love in prayer?
An answer to doubt, courtesy of Thich Nhat Hanh:
Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.
With Peace, Love and Joy,
Healing Loss: Choose Love Now by Miradrienne Carroll
outlines spiritual principles and practices
for anyone who wants to heal, at any time,
from the context of healing grief and loss.
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