A Better Reason

-by Catherine Killebrew

I speculated: Why had I done this and not that? Why did I keep making the same stupid mistake? “You’ve been analyzing yourself, trying to second-guess yourself. That’s nonsense, NONSENSE!” Rob repeated. “Just pay attention to how you’re feeling, and do what feels right at that moment.” My teacher was reminding me to listen to the “Still Small Voice” – the Wordless Prompt – the “Inner Guide.” He was reminding me to practice looking into the “magic mirror” of my conscience.

I then resolved to practice taking that leap of faith – to trust myself – my inner guide. I listened, a little more closely, and I did hear, or rather feel, a subtle something. It was the gentlest nudge, the barest whisper of an uneasy feeling – a feeling that warned me not to say what I was about to say. But I was afraid to trust that feeling. At a loss for words, I decided to play it safe and instead take the advice of a noisier idea. I spoke words that weren’t really my own, and it didn’t feel right. I had made a mistake – a mistake that may have hurt other people. I know I hurt myself! I gave myself an even better reason to listen to the “Still Small Voice.”

Then I heard the news. The words, “New York” and “Pentagon” had suddenly taken on new meanings. My friend wrote in her email: “They (the hijackers) were so blind with hatred that they mistook an idea for thousands of innocent, loving people.” So sorry! It was just a case of mistaken identity-thousands of innocent people sacrificed because, to someone, they were nothing more than a concept. They were just part of someone’s attempt to explain suffering. Thousands of innocent, loving people died because someone had, (in desperation) identified with the notion he could get into heaven by sending them to hell.

I read in the paper that a man from India – a Sikh – was killed in Arizona. He died because he wore a turban and a beard. His crime was to look like someone’s idea of “The Enemy”! Innocent Sikhs, innocent Muslims, Christians, Jews and Native Americans have died and will die because they matched or match an image. They look like someone’s idea of “Evil.” There are people who look at my face and at your face and (because of their enslavement to beliefs) see the “face of evil.” They believe it is their duty to send us to hell (on Earth, at least). How do you like that? Are you satisfied with the results we humans have been getting from taking direction from ideologies?

Now, what about that notion of capital “E,” “Evil”? What about that idea that there is a force or an entity that benefits from harm, and that we are aligned with the goodies opposing it? How useful has that explanation been? How peaceful and safe has it made us? Have we told ourselves that story to defend our own arrogance and to vanquish humility? Have we been tried to avoid admitting that we don’t really know ourselves – hiding behind self-righteousness? What would happen if each of us, instead, decided to overturn the tables of our internal money chargers? What if we threw the Pharisees out of our inner temples?

I reflect on the results that other Earth-dwellers and I have gotten from our commitment to beliefs. Those results are again demonstrating the foolishness of taking orders from ideas in my head – especially ideas about right and wrong, good and evil. The hijackers and the American reactionaries have just given me an even better reason to drop the self-analysis and guesswork. They’ve reminded me look inside – at the Magic Mirror. They’ve given me an even better reason to listen to the “Still Small Voice” and to heed the wordless prompt. May all of us soon find and follow our Inner Guides!