Letter 19
Letter from America
September 12, 2001


Brief 1
Chinese levenskunst
krijgt gestalte in het

Brief 2
Van muziek


Brief 3
Lieve Hilde

Brief 4

Brief 5

Brief 6
Those Who Come to

Brief 7
De Weg van de

Brief  8
Letter Darshan

Brief 9
Open Vraag

Brief 10
De natuur heiligen

Brief 11
Spirituele gemeenschap

Brief 12
De laatste uitdaging

Brief 14

Brief 16
Het Grote Leerproces

Brief 17

Brief 18
Save the Earth

Brief 23
Letter from America


Human kindness

Hello everyone, a friend of mine wrote this and sent
it to everyone that he knows. i found it powerfull,
and true, and i thought that there was a need for
everyone to read this, one person putting some of what
he feels about this to good work. to help others.
please send it to everyone. i made it anonymous
because i didn't know what everyone's reaction would
be. i love you all. k.

Dear Friends Who Share My Passion for Life, 

It is time for me to speak about what's in my heart.
About hijackings and terrorism and the world's
tallest building brimming with human beings being
brought to its knees, about the fear of losing
control and the horror transmitted into our living
rooms live via CNN, and about the indescribable ache
that's left behind when people die. Thousands of
people, in this case, leaving millions of aching
hearts in their wake. As I surf the relentless waves
of media reports and eventually find myself lying on
the beach gasping for air, my initial question of
"Oh my God, what's happening?" starts to get some
answers. It is an act of terrorism: a small group of
people trying to have power over a large group of
people through violence and the subsequent terror
that it creates. A David and Goliath story. But this
leaves me with a second, more nagging concern, and
that is "Why?". Is it simply a struggle of "the Good
People" (us) vs. "the Bad People" (them) - as
President Bush would have us believe? Is it really
that simplistic? As a nation, are we still stuck in
that old, painful, and unenlightened story that has
no end? That one about so-called Good and so-called
Evil battling it out through eternity (until both
sides of the apparent duality are destroyed)? Didn't
we figure out who the Enemy was while we were in
Vietnam - and that Enemy was us? What gives us the
divine right to judge who is Good and who is Evil in
the world? And let me clarify here: I am NOT
condoning the actions of the terrorists - this is an
atrocity of unspeakable magnitude - but what I am
saying is that we need to be careful in our
judgements of the terrorists themselves (and for
that matter, all of the people in the world who are
currently celebrating our misfortune) until we
examine our own Shadow.

There are reasons why people feel such passionate
hatred towards America and Americans. We are
perceived in much of the world as the cruel and
entirely self-serving Bully-nation who has the
capacity to relieve the suffering of the world but
chooses not to unless it serves our needs in some
way. To a large extent, I believe that this
perception is not too far from the truth. We are
addicted to Power and Comfort, aggressively imposing
our values on other cultures and we have few
qualms about using the rest of the world in whatever
way we can to fulfill our desires - be it through
Nike shoe factories in China that use child labor,
polluting oil rigs off the coast of Sumatra, or
enriching ourselves at the expense
of hundreds of millions of people, or
through our unwillingness to share global
responsibility for the health of the earth's
atmosphere by stepping out of the Kyoto Treaty. Not to
mention the Gulf War and the thousands of innocent
civilians that we inadvertently killed in order to
preserve our oil interests.

Its not that Americans as a whole lack empathy or a
sense of conscience, its just that we have
constructed so many cultural and personal defense
mechanisms around our hearts that we are no longer
able to feel the suffering of the rest of the world.
(We often having trouble even feeling the pain of
our next-door neighbors, let alone the agony that
people experience in places like the West Bank). We
hide from our connections to other people and their
pain by staying home and watching television and
blindly accepting our media's version of reality -
rather than venturing out and discovering the world
for ourselves. In our drive for security, we amass
fortunes (by world standards) and tacitly support
our government's efforts to protect those fortunes
from the empty hands of our fellow Earthlings: by
closing off our borders to immigration and ringing
our perimeter with the largest and most
sophisticated military in the world (which, as we
discovered yesterday, is no match for a small band
of terrorists flying hijacked airliners). We don't
share what we have because we believe that there
isn't enough to go around. In our attempts to stay
numb to the world, we drink and drug too much, shop
'til we drop, work 60-80 hours a week, get lost in
the drama of romance and sex, over-eat,
over-exercise, drive too much, get lost in
newspapers and movies, and generally live in our
minds instead of our hearts. All of this keeps us
from developing any real compassion for people in
distant lands.

The painful truth is that we - at least in part -
are responsible for these acts of terror: by cutting
our hearts off from others and turning our
self-cherishing into a national religion. It's our
karma as a nation: if we ignore or abuse people long
enough, eventually they will start crashing hijacked
jets into our monuments of greed just to get our
attention. But maybe that's just me.

So the final question is, "What do we do now?" How
do we break the legacy of human violence on this
earth? And how do we start feeling safe again? I
believe that both questions have the same answer. It
is clear to me that Bush's plan to Exterminate All
the Evil Perpetrators isn't going to work; any
response that is driven primarily out of fear will
only generate more fear in return and ultimately
more violence. So it would appear that reducing the
levels of fear on the globe is the only sane
approach to regaining our sense of safety and
security in a permanent way.

We need an entire shift in consciousness - and we
need it very soon - if we are to avoid another spin
on the wheel of bloodshed and suffering. What I am
advocating is a change in our thinking in which we
begin to honor all living beings on earth as much as
we honor ourselves - for our collective survival and
well-being is intimately bound up with the survival
and well-being of all others. The earth simply
cannot support the needs and fears of 6 billion
separate egos; at some point, it too must break
apart like the World Trade Center from the sheer
weight of the human race. So the task truly begins
in our own minds and hearts. Can we learn to
transcend our own greed, hate and fear? Our
separateness? Can we open our hearts up to the
suffering of others and share ourselves with them?
Can we be in service to the world instead of
expecting the world to serve us? Can we finally
start to grow up as a species and accept life on
life's terms? That would mean seeing how the world
really works (from the perspective of individual and
collective karma) and not hiding behind walls of
denial - be they personally- or
culturally-constructed. It would mean being open and
vulnerable and courageous; it would mean having the
mental discipline to live in and respond to what is
happening in the moment (instead of constantly
veering off into an imaginary future or lingering in
a non-existent past) and having the heart to love
Unconditionally. Are we ready for this?

I don't think we have the luxury of having a choice
anymore. With the collapse of the WTC, the final
bits of sand seem to have run through the hourglass,
and it's now or never. (Now is all we ever have
anyway.) The world is changing - whether we're ready
for it or not - and it is time for those of us who
recognize the global imperative of thinking and
acting non-violently to counter the violence (or
treat of violence) on our precious earth with an
even greater measure of non-violence. It is time to
become outrageously outspoken about our values, to
stick our necks out, to risk being kind, and to let
go of the false security of our ego's interpretation
of the way life works. Ultimately, safety only comes
from being true to ourselves, true to our love for
others, true to Truth itself.

So in giving up the old paradigm, we have nothing to
lose but our fears, our narrow minds, and our
constricted hearts. We, both as individuals and as
country, must find the confidence and compassion to
not stoop to the level of the terrorists by
responding to yesterday's horrors with anger and
aggression. This would turn us into Terrorists.
Ultimately, we must generate the wisdom to realize
that the true enemy is hate itself.

My love to us all, >

"Until the human heart has turned away from
brutality, until it has so engorged itself upon
destruction that any form of cruelty sickens it
instinctively, until it becomes
the-Heart-that-evolves-from-the-heart-of-man, there
will be no end to the violent insanity that addicts
mankind. The quality of your heart is what you must
work on.. To postpone the Apocalypse is, at best, a
wasted effort. We must turn away from the need for
that final devastation. The only inviolable
disarmament will be fashioned when the thought of
doing harm to others is no longer thinkable. Any
disarmament on less than such a consensus of feeling
is false and ultimately will be broken." -

Joe Henry

I was deeply moved by this letter which was sent
to me by email. People like him are the conscience
of the nation. What he has said about America
concerns the entire Western world. Aren't our
affluent societies based on exploitation of other continents
and nature? We all - without any exception -
share a responsibility here.

Han Marie Stiekema


© 2000 Copyright by Han M. Stiekema. All rights reserved.
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Last update:08/30/06