I just have to say it. The terrorist attacks in Paris were in the neighborhood where my husband and I stayed while we were there this summer. This gives me a personal feeling for what otherwise might seem far away. I could have been in one of those cafes…
I heard some radio interviews of people on the scene. The Moroccan baker whose place was shot up. The Algerian cafe owner whose place was drenched in blood. The Tunisian who had left behind, he thought, the fanatics in his own religion. All of these people identified themselves as French and as Muslims, and equally vulnerable to attack from terrorists.
I just can not see this conflict as Muslims vs. Christians. How many Muslims (women and children included) in how many countries have died at the hands of the fundamentalist fanatics who think they have the true faith? I learned this lesson from my own family history. My grandparents and parents faced death at the hands of Muslims, and their lives were saved by Muslims. So, I conclude, it’s not being a Muslim that makes some people killers and some people life savers.
It’s not being a Christian either, or any other religion, which can be used for peace and healing, or for terror and domination. Before the Christian world paints all the Muslim world with the same broad brush, let’s take a look at how we can be seen. People who call themselves Christians have done such horrific things that Jews I know have the same fearful reaction to the word “Christian” as they do to the word “Nazi.” To them, what’s the difference? Let’s not do the same to Islam.
So, if it’s not really religion that turns people into terrorists (though they can use it as an excuse), what is it? In my view, people who use violence to conquer and control others have put on many costumes and many excuses over the years. They’ve called themselves liberators, Kings with divine right, communists, a people with manifest destiny, members of Congress, or followers of whatever good cause they think they are serving. They either sincerely believe or pretend to believe some ideal that will improve the world– only some bloodshed is necessary first. Even Hitler was out to make the world a better place.
This has always been my question: what’s wrong with the human race? Is it genetics or culture? And what is my role in doing something about it?
Long ago, I concluded that people get violent because of unhealed trauma. Alice Miller’s books went a long way to proving this to me, as well as my experiences of following all kinds of hurtful behavior to its roots–behavior like racism in myself or in another, for instance. How can people hurt each other? My answer: no one is home. No embodied self-awareness. Numbness from the waist down, and a head full thoughts and ideas not grounded in reality. Isis is doing this. America has done it. I think it’s the basis of war itself.
Living in abstractions is dangerous. In your sincere efforts to spread democracy or achieve a homeland, you can miss the fact that you’re blowing up children. Or you can tell yourself you’re only choosing the children who deserve it, or that it’s necessary collateral damage, or whatever disembodied justification you give yourself.
I spent years trying to find a way to address the problem of violence. I finally decided that my contribution wasn’t through ALL of the means available to people (activism, art, politics, etc.) but through finding a way to bring people back to themselves. I searched for a method that would indeed return body and mind into integrated wholeness. That’s why I became a Rosen Method Bodywork practitioner and teacher. I’m making peace on earth one person at a time, one workshop at a time.
I know it can be done, because I know in my body what it feel alike to move from fear to love. I can do what Steven Pressfield calls “nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God,” along with the billions of other people who do it their way.
I just got an email form the Rosen Institute, with members across the planet, in response to recent terrorist attacks. It said,
We remember Marion [Rosen]’s intention that Rosen Method be a progenitor of peace, one session at a time. At times like this, it is important to remember out connections to each other, and our commitment to promote truth and understanding.
There is great sadness at the violence being perpetrated throughout the world.
May we always remember, as we witness in our Rosen Method sessions, that love is stronger than fear.
I witness this every single day. And it makes a difference.