Dear Michael

Your heart-warming and speedy response to Awakening to What Really Works and Really Matters is perfect grist for our further refinement.

Your commitment (as Michael Gerber, the author of E-Myth, says in his insightful comment) to be ‘working on the business rather than in the business’ promises much for Western Engineering.

As your leadership group shifts its collective state of mind, your business will become increasingly sustainable, providing quality opportunities for all who enter its sphere of influence.

What I find most striking is that your questions have become more global in scope. I find them insightful, along with your observations and commentary on the assumptions that we human beings mostly take for granted.

The questions you raise in respect to ‘9/11’ (a short-hand description that has tragically become part of common parlance) are absolutely relevant to our discussion.

You wrote:

‘If we are attacked (as with the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers), shouldn’t we use all our might to destroy the perpetrators? Aren’t we entitled to protect our country, our people, and our families?

John, don’t get me wrong, I’m really getting what you say about kindness, understanding, wisdom and common sense, but we are not dealing with normal people here. We are facing religious fanatics who want to kill – my family, my countrymen and me. Surely you agree, we’ve got to draw the line with terrorists – or our whole way of life will be destroyed.’

Phew, Michael!

To start, I share your concern with being harmed by mindless extremists.

Millions are understandably frightened witless by what is happening in various parts of the world. The signs are terrifying, and I don’t dismiss the threats we face.

However, what is – is. Terrorism exists. So, let’s see if we can find the cause and the remedy.

THE WAY FORWARD IN UNDERSTANDING AND ADDRESSING TERRORISM

We must wake up to the reality that what we do today, we’ll reap tomorrow.

Below is an alternative way forward in understanding and bringing terrorism to an end.

It is a way forward that is the natural consequence of what we have been exploring together this past year.

I pose two pertinent questions for you to consider:

  1. Do the outcomes we seek, justify the means we use?
  2. Are the means we use, the outcomes we get?

The answer to both is obvious if we can see beyond our conditioned way of looking at the problems we face.

History demonstrates that Western involvement (or, more accurately, Western interference) in the Arab world (and other places) has been too often self-serving, criminal and brutal. The common good was not the West’s motivation.

It is understandable that, given some of the (fundamentalist-impossibility) thinking within segments of the Arab world, retaliation and revenge for centuries of imposition and exploitation would be sought. And it has. And still is and will continue to be.

The Twin Towers bombing was based on the belief that the end sought justified the means used. That is: killing thousands of innocent people is justified by the end – bloody revenge (for the West’s unconscionable attacks on Arabs) coupled with striking terror into the minds of as many US citizens and their allies as possible.

In turn, the bloody revenge exacted by the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ is based on the same belief. And so, it goes – tit for tat, mindless brutality for mindless brutality, inhumanness for inhumanness – on an escalating scale.

So the means the terrorists use for getting even – brutality – rather than putting an end to their grievances, become the end: a perpetual revolving door of brutality.

The West’s 21st-century crusade, or means for ending the brutality, becomes the same end for the West – a continuance of the brutality against extremist Muslims and with that untold collateral damage.

And be in no doubt that, given the predominant thinking of the rulers in the West, even greater brutality will be inflicted on certain elements and countries within the Arab world in response to the inevitable reactions of the Muslim fanatics within those countries to Western brutality.

And on and on the madness continues in one form or another, on both sides.

The future for peace looks bleak – the future for war looks promising.

DOES WAR CREATE PEACE?

Does this massive display of military might by the West prove that the end justifies the means?

Of course not – it proves the exact opposite.

This situation will be an ongoing and escalating war for decades and decades to come, as each side holds to the belief that ‘the end justifies the means’.

Michael, it takes wisdom and common sense to wake up to the reality that ‘the means employed is always the end’.

War is a manifestation of undiagnosed collaborative madness!

It’s like the notion of perpetual motion. Nastiness begets more nastiness, fighting begets more fighting, terrorism begets more terrorism, and hard-line beliefs beget more hard-line beliefs. There is no end. Instead, there is only perpetual madness.

For peace to exist for you and me, we need to see that it exists within the reality we see or see in our mind. It doesn’t exist out there in the world unless it exists within our thinking. We are the problem. How we see or see explains the specific problem.

We, you and me, have to find peace within for peace to exist in the world.

Peace cannot exist for us, nor can we contribute to it, unless it exists in our mind. Yours and mine, Michael. It starts with you and me. We are as responsible for peace as we are for war.

Within the realm of Possibility, we see the pure horror and futility in the death and disablement of hundreds of thousands of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, family, friends and neighbours.

We see the senselessness of destroying tens of thousands of homes, factories, and all manner of infrastructure, and the cost of its replacement and the poverty and hunger its destruction causes.

In the realm of Possibility we see and experience what really works and what really matters in creating sustainable peace: kindness, understanding, wisdom and common sense.

THE CAUSE OF TERRORISM

Terrorism has existed for as long as humankind.

It comes into being by the way we use the gift of Thought. By how fanatically we come to think, then feel, and then act.

We have what is oft described as a ‘dark side’. This so-called ‘dark side’ forms as we create our identity (all our memories, conditioning and personal history – good, bad and indifferent) – our self-created belief system of impossibility thinking.

Thus over time our naturally inherent ‘light side’ is usurped, to the extent that we believe our ever-developing ‘personal truths’ – those deeply held beliefs we create around ‘what we think works’ and/or ‘what we think matters’. In its extreme state, it is this thinking that results in terrorism of one form or another, from one human being bashing another outside a pub to a suicide bomber creating carnage outside a five-star hotel.

The accumulation of our ‘ truths’ starts in the crib. It develops around the kitchen table. What we hear from our immediate family, relatives and friends, our religious and schoolteachers and, as we grow older, all that we read, see, hear and absorb becomes our view of the world. This accumulation, mostly invisible to us, continues daily until we die.

Some attend groups, gatherings or movements where they surrender their minds to a ‘guru’ figure or specific ‘belief system’.

Some of these are much more subversive and divisive than others, but the same trap exists for the unconscious in each. That is even the case – in fact, often especially the case – when the ‘belief system’ promotes the raising of one’s consciousness.

Irrespective of the root of our beliefs, opinions and judgements, when we come to see those as ‘the truth of the matter’, we have fallen into a state of unconsciousness. We henceforth operate our life on autopilot – a state of impossibility, a state of mild, potent, extreme or fanatical impossibility thinking.

Whether we are driven to take negative/violent action, or refrain from taking positive/life-affirming action – in that unconscious state, we believe that what we think is ‘gospel truth’ rather than a belief (in the case of terrorism, an ugly personal reality) we have created, innocently misusing the power of Thought.

But we are ‘doing what works and/or what matters’ to us. It is so because we think we know ‘the truth’.

We become so immersed and lost in our beliefs, opinions, and judgements that all else is subjugated – for suicide-bombing terrorists, even the natural human desire to live.

Consider this also, Michael: those of us that agree with their actions call them martyrs. Those that disagree call them terrorists.

Terrorists are just like the rest of us when it comes to their need to be right and make others wrong! Only the scale of martyrdom and self-destruction varies.

WE LEARN TO TERRORISE

Every human being has the inbuilt potential to be a terrorist.

Each of us, in our own way, has been a terrorist at some point – though, for most of us, we don’t see it as terrorism.

But what are we doing when we thrash a child, scream abuse at or dominate our partner, brawl with a neighbour, spike the flank of a police horse at a peace protest, or bomb an abortion clinic?

What are we doing when we wield our power to hold back the progress of, yell at, or otherwise victimise subordinates?

All the above, along with any other form of abuse, physical or psychological, are acts of terrorism – insignificant as some of them are in comparison with the expressions of the cruel, pitiless madness we are witnessing in various parts of the world.

And some of them are not as far removed from Al-Qaida as we might like to believe.

All acts of violence are an abuse of power, intended to intimidate and control in one form or another.

In these acts of terror, their magnitude is the only distinction.

The perpetrator is a terrorist, whether the act itself is against an individual, is localised or global.

Only the level of societal conditioning, its acceptability or otherwise, determines if the act is called by another name.

Our acts of terrorism appear to us (and those that agree with us) to be ‘what works’ and/or ‘what matters’.

However,…

What really works and what really matters exists in another state of mind.

THE SOLUTION TO TERRORISM

I suggest, Michael, that the form of terrorism we are talking about is spawned by our need for making meaning; for example:

  • about there being a God;
  • and then about our God being the true God;
  • and then about the path our God wants us to take;
  • then our need to be right about the God we have made up;
  • then our need to make others wrong about the God they have made up;
  • then our need to ‘heal and convert’ those believing in no God or another God to follow our God;
  • then our need for imposing power, control, retribution, revenge over or against those that don’t convert – all based on the ‘rightness’ of our personal reality;
  • and our blindness to the fact we are the creators of our personal reality and the God we have made up in our mind.

The solution, therefore, lies in us waking up to the illusion we have created. The one we see the world through. The fantasy we are certain is ‘the truth’.

Consider further:

  • that we create our personal reality via Thought;
  • that we are using the power of Thought at all times with which to think;
  • that we are capable of thinking anything;
  • that we create our personal reality by the fact that we think;
  • that we innocently think that our personal reality is ‘the truth’ rather than ‘our personal truth’ – a ‘truth’ we may share in some or even in many respects with others;
  • that our personal reality is never ‘the truth’ but simply what we think is ‘the truth’ – ‘what we think works’ and ‘what we think matters’;
  • that we are capable of unlimited thinking, creative or destructive;
  • that we needn’t act out what we think if we understand the nature of Thought and our thinking and how that is our reality in each moment;
  • that beyond our personal reality there exists in each of us (included terrorists) a realm of unlimited love, understanding, wisdom and common sense – the realm of Possibility;
  • that depending on our level of understanding, we will, out of habit, act out of the personal reality we have created – our conditioned mind – the realm of impossibility, the home of all forms of terrorism;
  • or from a state of heightened awareness that exists beyond our conditioned mind and within the realm of Possibility – the realm of kindness, understanding, wisdom and common sense.

Living from that state of Possibility is what really works and what really matters.

THE SOLUTION TO TERROR (CONTINUED)

We can only think the thoughts we are awake enough to think.

In a moment of transformed understanding, in that millisecond, we experience a shift in our state of awareness.

We see that we think!

We understand then that what we think is not the be-all and end-all. In fact, it is not even the beginning of a be-all and end-all.

We recognise that our beliefs, opinions, judgements, our worldviews are just that – our views, nothing more and nothing less.

And we see, possibly for the first time, that our beliefs, no matter how profound we or others may think them to be, are not ‘the truth’.

We see and are conscious of the fact that we don’t know. We see that we don’t know whether we know or not, and not knowing is the most wonderful state to be in.

We have let go of certainty or doubt and entered the realm of Possibility.

We have left the world of belief and shed everything, including everything you and I are reading/writing here.

We see, at last, that our world of doing ‘what works’ and/or doing ‘what matters’ is just made up, and not ‘the truth’ we have believed it to be.

Those realisations can shake us to our very foundations.

We humans, crave to KNOW. Initially living with the idea of NOT KNOWING can be uncomfortable – and for many, it is just too frightening to face.

When we truly see ‘that we think up our reality’, we also see that everyone else is creating their own reality and what they think works and matters, just as we are.

And we understand that what they think isn’t ‘the truth’ either.

Like us, they are making up their life either committed to their beliefs or looking in the direction of Possibility and a fresh start in each moment – mostly the former.

We understand that all humanity is making up, forming and acting upon their personal reality – all the billions of us.

At this pivotal moment, we see the core role of Thought to our human being-ness.

We see our innocence and the innocence of others. (Not that they or we are not ‘guilty’ and accountable in a legal sense for our or their actions, but innocence in the sense that we or they can only do what we or they think works or matters.)

We are all doing the best we can think to do – including the terrorist.

That is why living by ‘what works’ and/or ‘what matters’ is so fraught and is what creates and perpetuates terrorism, famine, war, genocide – all the man-created ills of our wonderful world.

SEEING WHAT REALLY WORKS AND WHAT REALLY MATTERS TRANSFORMS TERRORISM

In the moment of seeing that we are the creators of our reality, we are transformed.

Wiser in the actions we take, wiser about our attraction to those of like mind.

We see that we have listened to certain radio programs, podcasts, selected particular TV channels, YouTube productions or read certain books, papers and magazines that confirm and reinforce our view of life. We ignore media that present a ‘truth’ at odds with our ‘truth’.

We are mindful now that these choices validate and reinforce the way we see life and that we have rejected or shied away from anything that has threatened or challenged our way of looking at the world – anything that challenged what we think works and what we think matters.

Thus it may be, as a result of waking up (but not necessarily so), that we revise the usefulness of our political, religious or social affiliations. At the very least, as we open to Possibility, we cease thinking that our beliefs are ‘the truth’.

We realise that nothing works or matters and is thus sustainable – unless it is held within a context of what really works and what really matters.

As confronting as that may sound, we realise that our beliefs came into being as decisions we made (consciously or unconsciously) at some point in our life based on a conditioning process.

Michael, we wake up in a new reality, one that exposes how the inelasticity of our conditioned mind had replaced our innate capacity to see Possibility and to think in fresh, elastic ways.

We realise that we, you and I, have innocently ‘brainwashed’ ourselves on a diet of imagined ‘truths’.

It may well be that as a result of powerful insights, our current ‘set of beliefs’ is more useful to us and even to others than our previous set. However, so long as we see them as ‘the truth’, they are a trap and block us from continuing to see more and further evolve and deepen our experience within the realm of original Thought and Possibility.

In this unconscious state, our beliefs are what we know for certain work for or matter to us, and we know for certain that they would work for and should matter to others. We have failed to notice that we stopped having fresh insights and that our existing ideas have again become whom we believe we are.

That’s all.

IN SUMMARY

The solution to our problems lies in us waking up to the illusion we have created. The one we see the world as being. The illusion we have created and are certain is ‘the truth’.

I don’t minimise the task ahead. You could say it’s ‘mission impossible’!

I think we can do this. It’s within our capacity as humans.

And it’s not about imposing our beliefs or values on or over someone else’s.

It’s not about forgiving acts of terrorism or forgiving acts of ‘Western domination’.

It’s not about accepting acts of power and control and the vicious killing, maiming and displacement of millions.

It is about our willingness – you and me, to see and understand what really works andwhat really matters.

It’s for you and me to see Possibility – to experience and live our lives from the unconditional kindness, understanding, wisdom and common sense found in that realm of awareness.

In that state, we can do nothing but experience forgiveness. The slate is wiped clean. We are transformed as we see the innocence in our self and in others.

For us to achieve personal transformation, we need to see and thus understand that what we have learned (for all its apparent value and worth) is an illusion.

Only when we realise that will we take that shift to who we are in essence – who we are before we created all our convoluted meaning – a being of love, understanding, wisdom and common sense.

That is when we ‘really work and really matter.

Warmly … John