Deeper the sleep harder it is to wake up. For thousands of years we have created a nightmare of a civilization based on an unworkable paradigm of power, greed and violence in the service of misconceived self-interest. In spite of the untold suffering it has caused all through history we did not question this paradigm. A promise of a good material life and the pomp and propaganda of the power elite would lull us to sleep time and again. The horrific tragedy of September 11th; the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and the plane crash in Pennsylvania shook us out of our slumber. Usual reaction is to take a quick action that may be necessary. It also provides us with an opportunity for reflection and making some basic changes in the way we conduct ourselves in relationship to each other and the relationship between nations. The roots of such a destructive civilization can be traced back to the following story.
There were two brothers named Abel and Cain. Abel loved God. He was selfless, loving and caring individual. He did not care about the material possessions. He would share and serve his fellow humans. In return every one loved him. On the other hand his brother Cain was self centered, greedy and jealous. He hankered after worldly possessions. He was so full of rage and anger that he killed his loving brother and buried him. When God discovered this horrific deed he put a mark on Cain’s forehead and banished him. Cain was the one who established the first city, the beginning of our modern civilization; ever since we have been living in Cain consciousness.
From time to time God loving beings have appeared in different parts of this planet to revive the Abel consciousness but the power elite of the time buried them again and again. No sooner were they buried some of us in their name, possessed by Cain consciousness forgot the true message and did horrific deeds. Following are some of the examples.
Jesus Christ was the embodiment of Love. He loved all his fellow human beings regardless of their status or lot in life. He protected the woman who was labeled by the societal judges as a sinner. He was murdered in collaboration with the clergy and the Roman ruling class. He forgave the people who brutally murdered him. After his death Romans co-opted his name and became “Christians.” Ever since, to date, the power elite in different countries have murdered and plundered in his name.
Hazrat Muhammad preached divine love of one God and equality among fellow human beings. The power elite in Mecca comprised of ruling class, business and clergy tried to murder him and drove him out of Mecca. Nevertheless a vast majority of Arabs were touched by his message. He walked back into Mecca with his followers without any arms. Later on the power elite, in his name, murdered and plundered in different parts of the world.
Guru Nanak-Guru Gobind Singh brought a message of divine love. They taught that through meditation alleviate Haomen (“I am” consciousness) or Cain consciousness and realize the divine in oneself as well as perceive the divine in It’s creation. Their hope was to serve the divine by preserving its creation and serving humanity. The followers end their morning and evening meditations with the prayer, “by the divine will let it be the well being of every one.” The Mughal Empire in collaboration with local Hindu Rajas and Muslim governors murdered two out of the ten Gurus and one of them died fighting to protect the unprotected. Yet some of us possessed by Haomen (Cain) consciousness have become quite sectarian. Only recently they killed thousands of people attempting to create a separate sectarian state.
We have been so numbed by Cain (Haomen) consciousness that we demonize and dehumanize our fellow human beings and mercilessly murder them to rob them of their resources for our personal profit. Recently, I found out that my daughter might have Crohn’s disease. It preoccupies my consciousness. I am worried and perturbed. Do you have a child you love? Think of that child and reflect on the following:
Sometime last year journalist Leslie Stahl interviewed our secretary of state on McNeil Lehrer news hour. She brought to her attention the United Nations figures. By that time five hundred thousand children had died because of our sanctions against Iraq. She asked Madam Albright, our Secretary of State, is the death of five hundred thousand children worth it. Her answer was that considering everything it is worth it. Can you imagine if one of them was your child? What it means to the child’s mother, father, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, uncles, aunts and grand parents. One child’s death affects so many people. Imagine what does the death of half a million children does to a country. They were all civilians. They had done no harm to any one of us.
We lost over five thousand innocent lives of fellow Americans at the World Trade Center. So far I have not met any one who did not know some one who perished in New York tragedy or was not affected by it in some way. It has impacted all of us. By this time there must be a million innocent civilians who have perished because of our sanctions. We still keep bombing Iraq. By calling it a collateral damage we have destroyed millions of lives. What do you think is the impact on that nation? There are scores of countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa where our National Security Agency has helped destroy millions of lives.
There is a small minority among us who are touched by such tragedies. The rest of us have been lulled to sleep by the press and the politicians. The Iraqi war has neither brought democracy to Kuwait nor prosperity to the States. Since then there are more homeless people, less resources for health, education and welfare. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Who profited from such murders? Wake up and think hard. Five hundred thousand and millions of other civilians were as innocent as the thousands of fellow American civilians whose lives were ended abruptly in the horrific tragedy on September eleventh.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of democracy”. We have been ill informed by our press, which serves the power elite and not the people of the United States. A free press is the conscience of a country. The corporations have bought our main news media. The person who pays the piper calls the tune. In addition to the daily selective reporting the latest blatant betrayal of the public trust by the press is the covenant among the five major T.V. news networks and the state department, what they would and would not report. British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a similar request of B.B.C. news network and they refused. There is an all out effort to silence the only alternative radio in the States. Senator Robert Dole declared KPFA radio station as a hate radio station. The people whose credentials are contrary to the mission of the Pacifica foundation had packed Pacifica Board of Directors. They have no interest in its mission of peace and to provide a commercial free objective reporting of news and the cultural coverage. It is ominous to curb free dissemination of information and dissent.
Since the passage of National Security Act in 1947 under which was created the National Security Agency, the American public has been duped over and over again through false propaganda in the name of national security. I cannot forget Colonel North’s testimony before the Senate Committee hearings regarding Iran Contra affair. The Senate Committee counsel asked col. North wasn’t he shocked of the fact that he had “off the shelf” army and he could make unilateral decisions to destabilize foreign governments and lie to the congress. Col. North proudly said, “No Sir.” He said that he was being a patriot. According to him we live in a dangerous world and he could not trust the Congress of the United States. If he shared his information with the congress it would be leaked. The counsel reminded him that according to his own testimony the Russians already knew. He was keeping the secrets only from the people of the United States. He had literally subverted the Constitution of the United States. It is being done again.
We, the people of the United States are not fully informed. Out of all the Congress members, there was only one member who voted to protect the constitution. She did not want to give President Bush unlimited war powers without the congressional oversight. Weeks later when President Bush sent a memo not to share intelligence information with the appropriate members of the congress did the congress members reacted furiously to withholding of information. Nevertheless, the single courageous congresswoman Barbara Lee was misrepresented and maligned by the media and she received death threats. In the name of the National Security and patriotism attempts are made to encroach upon the civil rights of the citizens and freedom of speech.
It is not patriotic to follow our leaders blindly. As responsible citizens we need to inform ourselves and question our leaders. History is replete with the examples of the leaders misleading their people and creating untold destruction and suffering. It is especially true when our leaders are still motivated by Cain consciousness.
Any leader who perpetuates hatred against any group of people or countries and tries to justify violence to solve political problems is promoting Cain consciousness. You may be aware of the fact that it is against the United Nations charter to declare war. Violence has never solved any problem in the history of humankind. Even those people who are working toward peace but are abusive toward the people they disagree with are not promoting peace. We have to come from a place of love, otherwise, we are still acting in Cain consciousness and that will not promote peace. Leaving aside the great spiritual beings like Christ, Muhammad, Budha and Nanak, I want to give you an example of an incidence that happened in Oakland, California a couple of weeks ago.
A few young men intoxicated by patriotic fervor and revenge walked in to a store owned by a Muslim shopkeeper. They started roughing up the man and made a mess of his store. Someone called the police. The police arrested the young men and asked the store owner if he wanted to press charges. He refused to press charges. The police let them go. The same young men returned to the store in the evening. They put his stuff in the store in place, apologized and gave him money for the things they had broken. The storekeeper acted in Abel consciousness and revived Abel in the young men. Love begets love! What are our leaders and Osama Bin Laden doing? Could you guess, what is their consciousness? Who do you or what do you support?
It is time to realize the interconnectedness and interdependence of the whole universe. The mystics of all faiths realized this fact thousands of years ago. The ecological studies show how the tiniest creature on this planet, the forests and the remote habitats sustain the delicate balance of life on this planet. When we destroy any part of this planet we destroy a part of ourselves. When we use depleted uranium to bomb any country, it spreads radiation around the planet. The Russians never attacked us with nuclear weapons. Our nuclear tests and chemical pollution have increased cancer rates four fold during the last three decades.
The power elite that includes political, business, academic, religious leaders and the media in every country is driven by Cain consciousness and has created a paranoid civilization. Everyone learns in Introductory psychology courses that paranoid ideation is a projection of ones anger. The paranoid person can develop an elaborate delusional system to justify his/her distrust of other people. In a psychotic rage the paranoid person can unleash all the power in his/her possession to destroy the perceived enemy. Beneath this anger is an intense pain and suffering inflicted on the person while he/she was a helpless child. It is the healing of that pain which re-establishes trust and rekindles love in the person. We need to initiate a healing process to alleviate the pain that we have inflicted on each other for thousands of years. No one trusts any one. We are still building bigger and better bombs and missal defense systems. It will make a lot of money for a few at the expense of the rest of humanity. It serves no humane purpose. We need to wake up and shake off the nightmare we have been living in because of self-centered hateful Cain consciousness.
There is a highly developed technology available to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner. It is not going to be easy to change this hateful paranoid consciousness and utilize peaceful conflict resolution. But recognition of a problem and the willingness to solve that problem is the first step toward liberating ourselves from this nightmare of suffering. In my experience as an organizational development consultant it takes a similar process of unconditional loving investment in the organization without making any value judgments on the manifest behavior of the individuals in the organization that brings about positive change.
We, the people in each country can demand from political, business, academic, religious and media elite to promote peaceful conflict resolution by asking for the available technical help. It will cost pittance compared to the defense budgets of each country that brings nothing but suffering. Politically we should encourage the power elite to participate in promotion of planetary justice by supporting the International Criminal Court, reduce the global warming, preserve forests, support population control and disarmament, promote fair trade not free trade and pay proper price for buying the resources of different countries instead of plundering them by violent force. Have a just economic system devoid of exploitation of others for misconceived self-interest.
Does it sound like a utopia? Does it sound like an unachievable goal? Compare it to the utopia we are living in now. It is a complete utopia to think that a person, a community or a nation can live in peace by exploiting others. We have not given up this utopian thinking in the face of pre-ponderous of evidence that it has brought nothing but wars, suffering and perpetual misery. The tragic events of September 11th have amply demonstrated that power and violence does not protect us. We have a choice, either to give up our hateful and paranoid delusional thinking or to replace it with love and caring. Most of the people in the world have realized it. We, the people have to begin with ourselves. We have to give up our attachment to Cain (Haomen) consciousness and replace it with Love and care for the planet and its habitants.
Cain and Abel are within us. It is a constant struggle within each of us to keep Abel alive. In spite of my life long struggle to live in Abel consciousness through spiritual practice and professional discipline and understanding of psychological processes, Cain shows up whenever I am under emotional pressure. The latest example is the varied reactions I had during the past few weeks. I was in New York when on a perfectly beautiful day the tragedy began to unfold at the World Trade Center. Soon after I began to listen to President Bush’s statements, such as, we are going to punish the terrorists and the countries that harbor the terrorists. It is war between good and evil. It is a crusade to destroy the terrorist network. It is an operation Infinite Justice etc. The press coverage was totally devoid of any political analysis. I was feeling helpless, angry, frustrated and depressed. What happened to my loving consciousness!
By Saturday of the same week I managed to get back to California. I returned into the company of my colleagues who practice unconditional love and acceptance of patients who suffer from major mental illness. We stay focused on the pain and suffering and not get enmeshed in the manifest behavior that is a solution to their pain and unmanageable anxiety. We do the same thing when we consult with an organization. We focus on the pressures impinging on the organization and do not make value judgments on the manifest behavior of the individuals. It is the interaction with the psychotherapist or consultant who tries to understand the problem with such compassion that brings about change. With the support of my colleagues and peace loving friends I began to look at the pressures on the President. It was the unforeseen attack in the very heart of modern civilization. There is an intense hurt and pain because of the tragic losses. There is a fear and anxiety because of the unseen perpetrator and the historic conditioning of solving political problems with violence. The President has the responsibility to alleviate and help cope with all this. It created more compassion for the President. Even though I still feel that he is using the same non-productive habitual way to respond to such a horrific tragedy.
This essay as well as my continued involvement with my friends in inter-faith and peace promoting community is my attempt to deal with the sense of helplessness and desperation that I experience witnessing the repeat tragedy of misdirected human civilization. Bringing about change is not an intellectual process. It requires time, patient pursuit of understanding with compassion and having a support group to prevent from becoming Cain. The intellectual awareness helps us to begin the effort toward positive change.
May the Divine bless our planet and its inhabitants with Love and Peace!
Our home, Sweet home!