Terrorism at the World Trade Center: A Dialogue in Cambridge, September 13, 2001
I was scheduled to be in New York on 9/11/01. The morning I was to travel from Long Island, the planes hit the towers, bridges were closed and highways shut down before I could enter the city. I was free, however, to get to my event in Cambridge two days later. I worked with a woman who was terrified. She gave voice to the fears that many people were feeling. Amazingly, by the end of our dialogue, she was smiling. Her whole attitude had changed. Stephen and I wanted to include this dialogue in Loving What Is, but our publisher said that it was too hard for most people to believe. They wouldn't accept that such a major transformation could happen so quickly.
Deborah: I'm afraid that this is the beginning of the end. Our lives will become a living hell. We'll suffer just like all the people we've seen on TV. The terrorists will continue; we can't stop them. We have too many enemies. We've brought this on ourselves. Everyone hates us because we're Americans, we're rich, we have freedom. I might lose my life, my kids, my grandkids. I might never see them again. We're just at the beginning of the attack. Wait till they start chemical warfare.
Katie: Thank you, sweetheart. You're giving voice to many people's thoughts about what happened on Tuesday. Now let's look at what you've written, one thought at a time. This is the beginning of the end-is that true?
Deborah: It could be.
Katie: Can you absolutely know that that's true?
Katie: How do you react when you think the thought "This is the beginning of the end"?
Deborah: I get really scared and sad.
Katie: And then where does your mind go? Where does it travel when you think the thought "This is the beginning of the end"?
Deborah: It accelerates scary thoughts. I start thinking that I'll never see my family again.
Katie: That's what has to happen, because mind's job is to prove that it's right. When you believe the thought "This is the beginning of the end," you have to deny everything else that you see that's evidence to the contrary, and you have to be very selective. Does this thought bring peace or stress into your life?
Deborah: Oh, it's a very stressful thought.
Katie: Who would you be without that thought?
Deborah: Someone who can enjoy things.
Katie: That's really nice because there are a lot of things to enjoy. But only in reality. You hear the sounds of the people singing outside this church, you see the lights, the candle burning, the flowers in the vase, and if that's not enough, you have the smells, your feet on the floor, the people sitting beside you. Reality right here is really fine. It feels much nicer than the trip you just took into the end of the world. So, what I am learning from you-and I see you as an expert-is that with the thought, you experience stress as though two planes have crashed into your building and you collapse, and without the thought, you stand. So, how can anything that happens be responsible for your stress or your peace? "This is the beginning of the end"-how would you turn that around?
Deborah, laughing: What happened is the end of the beginning. I'm not sure what that means.
Katie: Feel it. I see that, whatever it means, it brings laughter to your face.
Deborah: Yeah. The end of the beginning… Well, something new is happening. It's the end of that. That disaster actually ended on Tuesday. I feel a little guilty saying that.
Katie: Of course, because you're a traitor to the story that causes suffering. You're not going to be very popular in the world. [The audience laughs.] You're going to be very happy, but you won't have a lot of friends in the government. Who would you be without the story? A vibrant listener, because there's no terrorist attacking you from the inside. A thought appears: "This is the beginning of the end." And without investigation, you're terrorized, you're war-torn. It was just a thought. We don't know how to meet our inner terrorists. Until we can meet these thoughts with unconditional love, we're going to suffer in the name of the world. Let's hear your next thought.
Deborah: Our lives will become a living hell.
Katie: "Our lives will become a living hell"-is that true?