This morning I read in the New York Times about how the White House continues to withhold documents from the federal commission investigating the 9/11 incident. Chairman of the commission Thomas Kean states "As each day goes by, we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before September 11 than it has ever admitted." They are on the verge of issuing subpoenas and beginning a high profile courtroom showdown with executive branch agencies.
A little later I received a forwarded email message from my 75-year-old mother about Lisa Beamer, the widow of Todd Beamer, one of the heroic passengers who thwarted the mission of the hijacked plane headed for D.C. on 9/11. Her account of a lesson she was taught about the importance of the (seemingly) small things in life hit a cord. (See below.)
These two related info-bits gave me pause here on this global-warming-induced, unseasonably warm Sunday in San Francisco.
Here we are in late 2003: we are living in the "end times" that have been foreseen by sensitive and astute observers for many centuries. This is the turning point, the portal of transformation for the globalized, internetworked human species. Will the transformation be an "evolutionary bounce" (to use Duane Elgin's phrase), where we transcend the competitive,war-faring model of civilization into a new integrated global culture of distributed collaboration... or will it be a crash and burn scenario?
While attending one of the anti-war protests here in San Francisco with my daughter prior to Bush's invasion of Iraq, I came across the comic-book format publication Addicted to War. This highly accessible and fact-packed 69-page booklet brings home the reality of war and conquest as the foundation of our modern American empire. It struck me that for all the benevolent, evolutionary fruits of this empire - the life-enhancing inventions, systems, schools of knowledge - there remains a powerful life-threatening force at work in every aspect of our society. We are essentially a collective Luke Skywalker, discovering, to our horror, that the "Axis of Evil" itself - Darth Vader - is our own father. It's a paradox that lies deep within our collective psyche: the thrust of Western civilization to the Promised Land brought with it a philosophy and tactical strategy of deception and conquest. The 7th generation of surviving Native Americans now looks with hope to the prophecy of transformation in this time. And now, in late 2003, the interdependent world community is finally exhausted with America's worship of war - from the Trade Wars against the Third World, to the Drug War against the Human Rights of millions, to the World War of ecological devastation, to the War on Terrorism against ourselves. We are operating on a fatally flawed foundation: the codes of civil and corporate reality are obsolete and must be completely rewritten.
We can move beyond the paradox. We have been, as a tribe, working through the karma. Now, awareness alone can transform us. Humans are connected by more than the telephone, the Internet, and the international banking system. We are connected by the "innernet" of DNA-antenna-genes and resonating memes: what we recognize as relevant, significant, or "cool" can be transformative on a vast scale. It is cool to be aware now. The leaders and institutions of the prevailing order have let us down. We have no choice now but to think for ourselves. To participate in a reinvention of human culture and civilization. And it is already happening, big time. The tools are in place. The knowledge is accessible. Awareness - and the actions that follow - will transform us and our world toward a new level of complexity. A new order IS emerging.
To enjoy each day, as Lisa Beamer's touching story conveys, is to be fully alive. Awareness of the little things, those simple but profound manifestations of divine creation that compose our everyday reality, is what really counts in life. Certainly, this is a deep truth, a core revelation of religious seeking: "chop wood, carry water." But thanks to our emergent noosphere - the sphere of mind that Teilhard de Chardin predicted - we are capable of, in fact compelled to - a higher awareness. Not only of our social reality, but of our planetary and cosmic realities. This is the awareness that will push evolution forward, take us up a turn on the spiral. "Higher:" more encompassing, more complex, more transcendent. Awareness alone will transform the human species at this critical moment in history.
I hope the gross events of these days, the economic and ecological troubles, the political and corporate systemic breakdowns, the human misery... will inspire a broader vision in us, a view from above. We can see from the point of view of the Earth, which IS us, that all life herein is a delicately balanced dance moving up an ever-enfolding spiral; we can see from the point of view of the Sun, the one Sol which IS us, that our planetary system dances within the Galactic plane of subtle energetic exchanges; we can feel in this higher awareness realms of experience that call to us, call us to rise above our material grasping and virtual realities and power games...to the cosmic life that is our true foundation.
------begin forwarded message--------
Lisa Beamer on Good Morning America -
If you remember, she's the wife of Todd Beamer who said "Let's Roll!" and helped take down the plane that was heading for Washington D.C.
She said it's the little things that she misses most about Todd, such as hearing the garage door open as he came home, and her children running to meet him. She's now the Mom of a beautiful little girl, Mary.
Lisa recalled this story:
I had a very special teacher in high school many years ago whose husband died suddenly of a heart attack. About a week after his death, she shared some of her insight with a classroom of students. As the late afternoon sunlight came streaming in through the classroom windows and the class was nearly over, she moved a few things aside on the edge of her desk and sat down there. With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she paused and said, "Class is over. I would like to share with all of you, a thought that is unrelated to class, but which I feel is very important."
"Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate and give of ourselves. None of us knows when this fantastic experience will end. It can be taken away at any moment. Perhaps this is the Powers way of telling us that we must make the most out of every single day."
Her eyes beginning to water, she went on, "So I would like you all to make me a promise. From now on, on your way to school, or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice. It doesn't have to be something you see, it could be a scent, perhaps of freshly baked bread wafting out of someone's house, or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in the trees, or the way the morning light catches one autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground."
"Please look for these things, and cherish them. For, although it may sound trite to some, these things are the 'stuff' of life.
The little things we are put here on earth to enjoy. The things we often take for granted. We must make it important to notice them, for at anytime it can all be taken away."
The class was completely quiet. We all picked up our books and filed out of the room silently. That afternoon, I noticed more things on my way home from school than I had that whole semester.
Every once in a while, I think of that teacher and remember what an impression she made on all of us, and I try to appreciate all of those things that sometimes we all overlook.
Take notice of something special you see on your lunch hour today. Go barefoot, or walk on the beach at sunset. Stop off on the way home tonight to get a double dip ice cream cone. For as we get older, it is not the things we did that we often regret, but the things we didn't do.
If you like this, please pass it on to a friend. If not just delete it and go on with your life! Remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
------end forwarded message--------