The issue is NOT terrorism. It’s otherness.

Many are calling the horrible events in France recently a Wake Up Call.

  • For some it’s a wake up call for tighter security.
  • For some it’s a wake up call for a dangerous religion.
  • For some it’s a wake up call for immigration issues.
  • For some it’s a wake up call to enlarge the war machines.

A wake up call is the light of truth bidding the fog to dissipate. Waking up is a spiritual reality because it transforms us from the inside out. It changes us at the core of our being. Waking up is not behavior modification.

Waking up to the Truth is not easy. Our default mode is to conclude that our beliefs are all that is true. Thus we see differing perspectives as untrue. We carve everything up into two buckets:

  • right and wrong,
  • good and bad,
  • valid or invalid,
  • same and other.

Each perspective is rooted in it’s own self-interest. Our perspectives reflect our fears, dispositions, biases, and prejudices. It’s unavoidable. We all relate to the truth via the categories we possess. Some have more categories than others, but no one has them all. The more we possess, the higher our potential consciousness, the more we are awake.

My hope is to wake more of us up to a new category. I have not seen anyone address this yet. Most are stuck on the main issues which I’ll list first. These are concerns, but they are not the main problem as far as I can see.

  1. We are not upset about senseless killing. We are upset with this particular type of senseless killing. We don’t mind killing in countless other forms. We love our death penalty, killing killers makes us happy even if it costs ten times than keeping a prisoner locked up for life. We don’t mind killing inconvenient babies. We don’t mind corporations that produce products that kill us so slowly that the makers can escape blame. We don’t mind cruelty and killing when it comes to our preferences for food and sport. In each of these cases we kill because of otherness. We are not as awake as we would like to think.
  2. We are not upset about refugees harboring terrorists. We are upset because we are atheistic toward their religion. Most Americans know very little about Islam and when a terrorist emerges out of that religion we discard the whole religion. Modern culture does this with Christianity too. The issue is otherness. We don’t believe in their god. We are atheistic toward their god-concept and it threatens us.  This is prejudice and ignorance. Are there peace loving Muslims? Yes, we call them refugees who are leaving the war instead of joining it. Are there radical Muslims who want to kill us? Yep. We call them terrorists. But like all religions, this is the most immature of all stages of religious development. The bible depicts the story of Joshua where our Jewish and Christian history is not at all unlike ISIS. Let’s not forget the crusades back in the infancy of our faith. All religions and atheism produces killers, it’s not due to the religion, but the fact that otherness took hold within the belief system. Clearly we are not that awake.
  3. We are not as afraid of terrorism as we are of change. We like our businesses, our happy towns, our families, our peaceful and prosperous lives. We should, these are immense blessings that are not afforded to most of the world. When a bomb goes off it erodes our consumer confidence and our prosperity and freedom diminishes. Fear undermines all well-being. Terrorists know this. Beneath it all we must recognize how fragile our happiness really is. It is evidence that our happiness is anchored in our externals and extravagant lives. We are leaning our ladder against the wrong wall. Because of otherness we have a scarcity mentality. We believe that if more people are introduced to the system, there will be less to go around. Of course the opposite is true. The only reason for the scarcity that most people experience in life is because of the otherness that we possess. Terrorism shines a light into how easily our house of cards can be toppled. We would rather learn about the Kardashians that grow depth in our souls. If we were awake life would be based on internals that can’t be taken from us. Many refugees could teach us this.

Think about it. Otherness is at the heart of all our problems.  Otherness builds the war machine. It divides and indexes people. We then define our world into dualities and end up anchored to one of two poles. We vote according to a party. We pick our news based on our preferences. Like seeks like. We define ourselves as other than those people, those things, those animals, those ideas, those practices, those beliefs. Every evil of the world comes from this.

So is there an alternative? Yes. Something happens deep inside our core being (soul) when we recognize that refugees seeking asylum are not unlike us in what we would do for our families. Something happens when we can see that the desire to eradicate others actually resides within ourselves and if we are honest, it shows up each on each morning commute. We all have a resident terrorist inside us. We’ve all bought into the lie that peace comes from conformity. Those who wake up have learned that peace is the byproduct of both diversity and unity.

To the degree that we resist the reality of our inner terrorist is the same degree that we will apply otherness in our life. This creates space for our inner terrorist to grow-that disposition of the heart that robs our peace. There is a spiritual breakthrough available and it is within all of our grasp today. Right now.

All religions at their highest, most conscious levels all uphold the golden rule, that we should love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. (Luke 10:27). This is to love them as us not as others. If we get this, we get the whole sum of all religion. If we miss this, we miss everything.

Train your soul with this exercise. Fill in the blanks with any imaginable  word. Put that word on both sides and see if the statement is true. It will cause you to actually do spiritual work and examine something about your core being in relationship to everything else. If you possess enough categories, honesty will cause the otherness disappears. If you can’t make sense of something, then it means you lack the necessary category to connect the dots.

I hope you will continue this and be transformed by it. Our world has been waiting for us to do this for a very long time.

I’m not ____________ but I’m not other than ___________ either.


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