by Gregg Braden

from JohnMackInstitute Website

What we must bear in mind is that the choices made in the next hours and days will set the course of human history for generations to come.

Our world changed on September 11, 2001. This is, perhaps, the one fact of which we may be absolutely certain during a time of tremendous uncertainty. It has been approximately 48 hours since the tragedy that has fallen upon the United States began. The fact that it has taken two days to write about what we have experienced tells me how deeply I have been affected by the horror of the events that we have witnessed, along with the rest of the world, in ways that may take months, or longer, to fully comprehend.

I had just arrived in Melbourne, Australia for a series of conferences when the local programming was interrupted with the first images of devastation and the unforgettable images of a burning New York City skyline. Witnessing the tragedy and grief of our country, while being half a world away, has truly been a profound experience. Additionally, it has afforded me a unique opportunity to see America through the eyes of the people in another land. The experience has truly been life-altering.

We Are Not Alone

During the taxi ride from my hotel to the airport on the first day of the reports, people were openly sobbing in the hotel lobby, on the streets, sidewalks and through the airport concourses. Everywhere I turned, crowds were huddled around television monitors hoping to glean additional information from U.S. stations - something that would help them to make sense of the horror they were witnessing from the live video feeds that have now become engrained into our memories.

What has become abundantly clear during the last two days is that the U.S. is not alone in this time of grief and tragedy. Immediately following the first reports, our office began receiving emails of sympathy and support from our friends throughout the world, messages from nearly every continent.

The outpouring of sympathy, friendship and unity from our Australian neighbors has been particularly overwhelming. The many messages of condolence for our country, the loss of families and rescue teams that I have received personally have been constant, heartfelt, and they continue. As I am writing this memo, teams of Australian firefighters and relief crews are making plans to arrive in New York when the airspace is opened again, to offer relief to the teams that have been working nonstop for nearly three days. While we may not hear of it on a daily basis, this was a reminder of the powerful bond and deep friendship that exists between the US and the rest of our Global family.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The tragedy that has fallen upon our nation has placed world leaders, and individuals alike, into the uneasy position of uncharted territory. There are no models, strategies or manuals, no one to turn to with detailed procedures as to where we go from here. How are we to respond to such an unconscionable act carried out by faceless perpetrators resulting in unimaginable losses? How do our leaders balance the anger of a nation with the most sophisticated arsenal of military power that the world has ever known? History has shown us that there are no "pat", predetermined answers to these questions. There are only our choices that result from what we know and believe to be true, information that changes by the hour.

In the aftermath of the last hours and days, the magnitude of what has happened is surpassed only by the uncertainty of what comes next. This, by far, is the greatest fear that I have heard expressed. The events that have unfolded leave us at a particularly perilous crossroads teetering between our emotions of outrage and the need for retribution and a longing for reason. What are we to "do" next?

What we must bear in mind is that the choices made in the next hours and days will set the course of human history for generations to come.

The magnitude of the events within the last days has opened a deep wound in the consciousness of our nation and the civilized world; a void that seeks to be filled quickly, to balance the emptiness. Whatever rushes in to fill the void of our nation's loss will set the stage for events of lasting consequences and irreversible effects. Do we fill the void with an overwhelming display of force and power to quell the pain of a grieving nation, or do we fill the void with the measured response of a nation demonstrating to the world that we have truly entered an unprecedented era of dealing with conflict through new and innovative ways?

Albert Einstein stated that the problems of our world cannot be solved with the same thinking that created the problems to begin with. The events of September 11, 2001 may well represent the first opportunity in the new millennium for the most powerful nation in the history of the earth to demonstrate to the world that there is another way to deal with those who oppose our ideals of peace and freedom. The choices that we make as a people will define us as a nation and lay the foundation of global policies for generations to come.

What Do We Do?

Clearly, there is nothing that can justify the unthinkable acts of tragedy and pre-meditated attacks that have resulted in the loss of so many lives. Just as clearly, there is nothing that we can do to any individual or any nation to bring back the immeasurable number of lives that have been lost.

Our office has been flooded with telephone calls and email messages asking a simple question: "What do we do?"

I will be the first to state clearly that I do not have "the answer" to this question. Each individual must find a way to reconcile the events of the last days in their minds and in their hearts. Sometimes it helps to break the big problems into manageable pieces. I offer the following as guidelines only, in an effort to serve those who have asked for recommendations and guidance.

With these ideas in mind, our first actions must be near-term:


-  To care for our own.
-  To search for survivors.
-  To support our rescue and recovery teams, our governmental and organizational leaders. Clearly our nation has been attacked. We must demonstrate that not only has the attack failed to fragment our country, it has melded our nation into a unified force of support and solidarity.
-  To take the necessary precautions to secure our nation in the presence of the very real threat of additional attacks.


-  To choose our response wisely and responsibly
-  To understand that the policies of "globalization" have melded us into a global family. The choices made over the next days and weeks will affect all people of all nations and have the potential of lasting consequences for the quality of life and the future of our world.
-  To invoke our power of prayer, a very real power that quantum science now defines as our ability to participate in a unified web of energy that links all of creation.
-  Through our prayers, empower our leaders to choose wisely, with the guidance of our creator, for the good of all people with the long-term vision of a global peace rather than a short-term goal of balancing an act of terror.

3. Ultimately, to realize that there is no "them" and "us." We share the same world and there is a "we" - different aspects of the same conscious body. When the dust has settled, ultimately, we must look deep within ourselves to know what it is within ourselves that is mirrored by increasingly greater acts of terror and destruction. From dysfunctional families, to school shootings, to acts of terror against the United States on foreign soil, to the attacks upon our own soil, we are witnessing a pattern of increasingly greater acts of anger and lack of respect for human life directed toward Americans. Imposing a military action on the "outside" does not change the thinking that led to the acts to begin with. If we have the wisdom to recognize the language of "mirrors," we will have witnessed an obvious indication of the need for change.

The Prayer

Though we may each feel as though we are being tested, the oldest texts of humankind suggest that moments such as this can become less of a test and more of an opportunity to demonstrate to the world, and to one another, precisely the kind of people and nation that we have become.

As we consider our response to the tragedies, we must remember that we are no longer responding alone. Our response will have implications that reach deep into the hearts and the streets of our closest allies and most distant neighbors. While a response is certainly warranted, the world is looking to us, the most powerful nation in the history of the earth, to temper our response with reason, justice and a consideration for our global family and collective future.

I invite you to join me in a prayer empowering our leaders with the wisdom of a greater power as they implement their choices of response. Utilizing our "lost mode of prayer" identified in the Great Isaiah Scroll, where we feel as if the outcome has already occurred, rather than asking for intervention, our prayer may begin as:

Dear God, In this time of great tragedy, we give thanks for the courage within our leaders to recognize the difference between the anger in their minds, the wisdom of their hearts and the courage to act wisely in their choices.

May each leader have the strength to act for the good of all people, in all nations and our collective future as a global family.

Through this prayer we claim that peace, democracy and human life are stronger and more enduring than the buildings that symbolize them. We breathe life into their existence from the dust of hate that is transformed by our soil.

For these blessings in our lives, we give thanks,