It’s the 10th Anniversary of September 11th. A massive tragedy like 9/11 that impacts every corner of society can create an opportunity for inner reflection and clarity when it is made relevant to individual awakening, so why does this rarely happen?
We each recall the stark images of planes flying into sky scrapers; the heroism, the villainy, the suffering, the imagination slipping into what it could have been like for the senses to experience the fire, smoke, and collapsing rubble. Every society has versions of its own 9/11 and Ground Zero.
Tragedy Goes Either Way
The loss and devastation merged the American people’s voices and those of the world into a chorus of sympathy and unity before the fallout from anger and revenge started to kick in and spread.
Regardless of your position on what happened and why, 9/11 gave us an illustration of how one act of mass victimization and violence can create both the seeds of unity and the worst kind of destructive cycle. Moreover, it showed how past events kept alive so intensely often ignite into the most potent and definitive forces available.
In the last 10 years, 9/11 has indisputably governed our perception of world affairs; more often with a negative frame of reference, and it has redefined our cultural belief system.
Are We Stuck in a Story?
On the personal side, I believe that if such tragic forces are not converted into platforms for conscious awakening and compassion, they will soon become a heavyweight distraction.
In their book, “Spontaneous Evolution,” American scientist, Bruce Lipton, and political scientist, Steve Bareman, discuss the limitations and sabotaging influences of the collective subconscious experience, “We are storymaking creatures…in order to make meaning of the world, we create stories”— They raise questions about what we are left with when societies have to drop them.
The urge for victims of violence is to instead develop a story that creates a self-serving struggle between good and evil, right and wrong, hero and villain. Yet Lipton and Bareman and others like Eckhart Tolle remind us that we are meant to move beyond our stories. Why?
If a person is to transform and awaken to their gifts, then it becomes nearly impossible to do so when still clinging to a recurring cycle of past hurts and injustices. To drop the collective story is to aim for a more fundamental acceptance that all beings are interrelated in the web of life, and that while bad things happen and stories are there to help us get through the skids, ultimately they must be dropped if we don’t want them to rule our subconscious.
It’s not to say that adding layers to the trauma doesn’t benefit a certain kind of energy, but when it gets in the way of identifying with a positive meaning in a big-picture context, then it can be hypnotizing to allow cultural belief to dominate our lives.
Bare explains in more detail, “We often find people who have a wound, or an affliction, or problem. And their entire lives become about this problem and then to let go of that problem they would lose all of the meaning in their lives. This gets played out in cultures…Each time one side does something bad to the other side, that enhances the story and it builds the story one more storey high.”
Dropping the Story to Celebrate Life
After 9/11, “national security” arguably became the dominant political and cultural story in the US and many parts of the world, and the values of strength and valor against terror (as well as their ugly shadows) took center stage.
As we still try to figure out the good and the bad players in all the stories that occupy our lives, it’s up to each of us to not lose sight of the liberation that comes about when we move past the sting from past wounds, be they personal or cultural.
If you still think that it’s worthwhile to cling to the shared experience of those violent images from 9/11, consider Lipton and Bare’s rationale that it empowers our conscious capacity to participate in the world when beliefs that are limiting are reprogrammed.
After a decade, the wars and increased terror make a more cooperative reprogramming of story that celebrates life rather than blames it in our interests. This way the heavy coat of armor that preserves the ego from fear of violence can be replaced with a radiant mirror reflection of a responsible vibrant and more complete being; free to avoid storybook dramas that come and go in life.
By Shervin Boloorian
Shervin Boloorian worked in the Washington D.C. policy world, where he tracked and reported on actions in Congress and the White House. Boloorian was a US-Iran peace movement policy advisor and coalition strategist before joining the Union of Concerned Scientists to work on disarmament and pro-environment campaigns. Shervin Boloorian is also a graduate of the Tama-Do (Way of the Soul) Academy and is the Communications Manager for the BaliSpirit Group. He manages a blog on modern day shamanism.