I see the light at the end of the 9/11 tunnel, at least for me. Maybe after you see how I have come to know that it is possible to heal that trauma, then you too can look back on this year’s anniversary as the moment when you began to consciously move on from the echoes of that tragic day.
First some deep background: my conscious mind serves a basic function for my being, and that is to identify or name phenomena and solve any problems that it finds. It works with bits of data in a sequential, or linear, fashion; that is to say, one following the next, in some manner that it deems *logical*. It is focused very much in time, remembering my past, sampling the present, and forecasting future problems and their solutions. When I say that I am *awake*, that is my conscious mind speaking. My conscious mind has a complement, what I call my subconscious. It works in an opposite manner: its basic function is to take on any traumas, experiences that my conscious mind is unable to name or solve, and so allow my conscious mind to move on to solving the next problem that comes into its awareness. My subconscious interprets what I experience rather than defining it, maybe using myths or archetypes, maybe using my own past experiences and memories. It operates outside of time, meaning that its processing of memories affect it in the same way as the original event. It can’t distinguish, in other words, between what happened 13 years ago and the emotions I am feeling today as I mark the anniversary. My subconscious also does not understand the word *no*; that is why if you command me, “No thinking about elephants”, then all I can think about are elephants. My subconscious seeks patterns rather than linear conclusions, cycles rather than specific events. My subconscious also is skilled at healing trauma; at least as long as the trauma is not re-experienced. A fundamental part of this healing process involves my subconscious re-creating similar situations in order to allow me to make a better choice, one that doesn’t lead to my psychic wounding. But if I make a similar choice, if I experiences similar feelings of fear or grief, then the original trauma gets overlaid with new wounds and sinks deeper into my subconscious. In other words, re-traumatizing experiences make healing difficult or impossible.
September 11, 2001 was possibly the most traumatizing event our species has endured. Broadcast globally, our collective consciousness was overwhelmed, unable to cope, and our collective subconscious stepped up to do its job of providing protection to allow life to go on. Individually many people have had traumas as bad or worse; but as humans this event marked a milestone of trauma. Of course, as we dive into what follows in my discussion today, you need to make a conscious decision at this point that you want insight, that you want healing, that you take on a responsibility to not let this discussion itself open the wounds again. Like in hypnosis, when you are able to look back in time dispassionately and as an observer rather than as a participant, what is needed today is to look at the mechanism of injury and the methods used to traumatize us over and over again, without letting emotion drown us again. If you have made that decision, then let’s consciously look at that day once more.
Where were you when you heard? What were you doing, and how did the rest of your day play out? If you are like me, you were clued in early, you went to work anyway, and within a very short time, nothing was going on at work except watching TV or internet streaming websites, crying, making phone calls to friends, and the usual actions one takes when one is deeply and profoundly in shock. What caused these typical reactions? Our conscious minds were overwhelmed with sensory input: the falling bodies, falling buildings, images of smoke and people running only to be engulfed in the billowing clouds; the sight and sounds (and smells if you were there) of violence, chaos, and death. We were inundated with conflicting information: more bombs found, wait no bombs. A car packed with explosives outside a government building, wait, no such car. A plane crash in Pennsylvania, but the reporter on scene says, “No debris”. A plane crash into the Pentagon, but photos of the scene show, “No debris”. The Twin Towers fell due to being hit by planes, wait a tower not hit by planes is also falling…
The most tragic and heart-rending scenes of death and destruction were replayed overandoverandoverandover, to ensure what; that if I was just tuning in I could understand why everyone around me was so upset??? And through it all, coming through loud and clear in the voices and words of those reporting breathlessly every new rumor or wire story, we find the most important underlying message: BE VERY AFRAID.
What’s my conscious mind to do? Its job is to name what it sees, identify friend or foe, and come up with a solution, a way out; yet piecing together these chaotic bits I never imagined in my wildest nightmares I cannot find a coherent set of solutions. Information is so ragged, as one should rightly expect as an event is happening and no investigation has had time to present any factual conclusions, how can I make sense of what is happening as I sit a few thousand miles away? And as my normal psychological response to a violent, threatening situation that I can’t explain is fight or flight, nearly every humans’ conscious awareness settled into flight in order to avoid being any more traumatized.
The fear of not knowing what might happen next; would it involve me more directly; do I know anyone involved, on the planes, in the Towers, or in the Pentagon; even just the empathy that many of us felt for those who were directly involved in some way, or the way commentators were so quick to point out that *life will never be the same*; this all-pervasive, overwhelming fear interferes with my subconscious as it sets about processing the problem and sheltering my conscious mind from further wounding. What is the path my subconscious takes as a way to cope? It gives away my sense of having any power to deal with the problem; I feel so out of my league that I look to someone, anyone, who might make this pain go away. Solutions like *go shopping* or *increase surveillance* or *pass the Patriot Act taking away our rights* or *invade Afghanistan, Iraq, and on and on*… these sound like reasonable trade-offs in return for some returning sense of security, some lessening of the fear.
Once I have given away my power though, I am now subject to the control of its new owners. I can’t protest against the Iraq invasion in 2003 with any success. I can’t get my legislators to oppose the gutting my constitutionally-granted rights. I can’t get the military budget right-sized in comparison to social spending. I can’t complain about the charade that is the TSA in airports without looking like I want to die in another hijacking or bombing. I can’t question the official story: fabricated and presented within hours of the event and changed repeatedly in an attempt to make it more plausible and call for a transparent investigation without being called a *tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy nut*. I can’t insist that this be treated as a *crime* and investigated and prosecuted as such, rather than treating it as an act of war and enabling the money funneling to the industrial base of the country and the death and destruction that will ensue as America enacts its rage across the globe. I am as powerless as I have ever been.
Wow. Let’s pause here and take a deep breath (or four). I am guessing that these last few paragraphs have stirred up a lot of emotion in you. They did in me, as I write this. As I mentioned earlier: stay as dispassionate about that day as you can while you read this. If you still need to process grief from this tragedy, find help and do that before you continue on. This piece of work today is about trying to heal the wounds and prevent this annual anniversary from only perpetuating the pain and dysfunction rather than allowing us, both as individuals and as a collective human mind, to finally get this lesson and grow and move on. Here’s a key point: every year we are exposed to *triggers*: words, pictures, flashbacks, and commentaries that bring this tragedy back into our consciousness. Remember that our subconscious can’t tell the difference between memories or current moment; when memories are triggered and I re-experience some portion of the original trauma, my subconscious steps in to protect my conscious mind and the original memory is overlain with the new experience and new trauma, and thus pushed deeper into the dark recesses of my mind. Lenon Honor recently released a book, “9/11 and the Fear-Based Mind Control Program”, in which he details triggers such as the words
• Terror threats
• Al-Qaida or Osama bin-Laden
• *unconfirmed but credible threats*
• Weapons of mass destruction
• Twin Towers
• World Trade Center
• Ground Zero
• *see something say something*
• Homeland Security
• Muslim or Islamic terrorists
which show up in news reports with increasing frequency in the weeks prior to the annual anniversary. These are meant to remind us of the horrible nightmares we retain in memory about that day, re-traumatizing us each year and in effect re-inoculating us against any effective resistance to, or complaint about, government and corporate policies that perpetuate war around the globe and continue our loss of rights here at home. These triggers are aimed at our subconscious and designed to re-ignite the feelings of fear and powerlessness that we felt on the original September 11th, precisely so that we will once again give our power to those who control us. This is especially insidious because we still have no adequate, complete, or believable explanation of the events that day, leaving our conscious mind with no chance to do its job: formulate solutions. Our subconscious can do its job and try to offer situations in our lives when we can make different decisions and avoid trauma, but as we didn’t have anything to do with that day other than to watch it unfold in real-time, the only choice we can make now is to avoid replaying that day, in our minds or by not partaking in the media frenzy of commemorative broadcasts.
This piece is longer than what I had envisioned when I began. If you are still with me, great. Let me point out now that this piece is not about what actually happened that day. In fact, I am coming to the conclusion that in the interests of my own mental health, it might make sense now to let that clamor for an investigation go. There are dozens of alternate explanations, none of which is without its own problems or inconsistencies. We have just passed the 50 year anniversary of the Kennedy assassination; the pleas for a transparent investigation into that official story have yet to bear fruit. I suspect that 9/11 will be the same in another 37 years. Indeed, as I get into the healing process myself over 9/11, I have begun to wonder if those brave souls who continue to push for a believable explanation have become stuck in their own loop of trauma, interpretation, re-trauma, repeated endlessly like any other addiction meant to keep our focus off the moving ball. Anyone who believes anything they are told, by government, media (mainstream or alternative), films, or even me, without using Reagan’s paraphrase of the Buddha, “Trust but verify”, is someone who has already given away all of their power and is being controlled by others who do not have anything other than selfish interests at heart. In truth, none of us remember much about 9/11/01 other than the emotions that were so devastating, both then and now. Go back and watch some of the videos of the first live-broadcast hours; consciously, so as not to re-traumatize yourself, but you will be shocked at how much of the actual detail of the event you do not remember. Once my trauma is healed, then if I want I can ask intelligent, coherent questions about that day; I can take back my power over the event, in other words. Without healing however, I am just at the mercy of the fear and grief all over again, and I no longer hold any of my own power to understand the day or make different choices about my reactions to it. Without healing it is just my wounding splattered all over your wounding.
So here is the payoff: things to do to get beyond this collective and individual trauma.
• Process your grief. I was a Volunteer Captain when I retired from my local fire department just months before 9/11; the firefighters, and other emergency responders, who died that day feel like family to me. That engenders a lot of grief; until that is processed and assimilated into my being, I will have trouble with any of the other aspects of that day. You probably have grief too; even if you knew no one who died or was hurt, you might be empathic or you might feel the grief of our collective human heart. Your life might have been changed for the worse that day, and that could also leave you with grieving to do. There is life after death, but only if you complete the work of grieving.
• Eliminate news from your life. This is where I usually write, “Throw away your television set”. But these days, many of us have done that, and yet we stay *informed* online or by using news sources less mainstream and more alternative. Problem: even alternative news uses much the same original reporting, the same press releases, the same interviews; they just *spin* it for a different demographic than does CNN or Fox. And any report that cites *unnamed sources* or gives no attribution whatsoever is lying to you. Just because it is on the internet does not make it true. The same trigger words and images will be used no matter who is spinning today’s news. This is one of the deeper, esoteric meanings of this piece: some believe we can fix the global system and regain prosperity; some believe we can build a new system alongside the old and have it ready for when the current dominant paradigm collapses; both of these plans are wrong. The only salvation left to us is to begin building a new system outside of the old, using none of the assumptions it holds, none of the resources that come from it, and having as little to do with it as we can as we focus our work on the next paradigm. In other words, we need to start acting like the native people who, upon realizing their tribe had grown too large for the neighborhood, would bud off a new colony that would go over the next hill and never come back. Or like the *colonizers* who got on boats for months-long journeys to occupied lands but who knew they would live or die without ever seeing their birthplace again. The news of this dying paradigm is of no use to us. If it only repeats the trauma so we continue to give up our power to effect change, we must leave it behind, forever.
• Which brings us to this last (for today) point: take back your power. Ask the only questions that matter:
o Who am I?
o What am I?
o Why am I here, on Earth, at this time?
o What is there for me to do, with my talents, skills, and understanding?
Learn how to heal your trauma, not just 9/11 but the big ones that continue to haunt you and affect your life today. Those you don’t even remember from your childhood; you know, the abandonment, the abuse, and the feelings of unworthiness for no apparent reason. See the ways in which this dominant culture takes our power other than by holding 9/11 over our heads, for they are myriad. Release your fear; discover the joy in acting from love and not our habitual place of *scared shitless*. Only when you have healed some of the trauma will you begin to see how regaining your power can be an effective solution to this mind-killing fear that is constantly peddled by American culture. You can survive while paying little or no attention to it; let this be the ultimate lesson of 9/11.
derektennant on Love Paul Heft on Love Paul Heft on More on Terror Trump in 2016 | Dona… on Trump in 2016 Paul Heft on Forgetting History
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