The Spiritual Answer to Terrorism

Terrorism is a worldwide problem that will not be solved through compromise, as demonstrated by the failure of Neville Chamberlain regarding Hitler during World War II. Terrorism has fixed beliefs and a strong intellectual justification in its correctness and is fueled by the power of hate. The word “hate” is classically defined as “that which separates”. The power of terrorism is based on the intent to create fear of destruction, physical harm, or death in the masses. It is primarily effective against people who have belief systems and ego identities based primarily on the physical plane. The counterpoint to terrorism is spiritual understanding and liberation, which gives victory over anything that is subject to death. A free people who understand their spiritual foundation are not afraid of terrorists. As Patrick Henry said in response to British terrorism, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Terrorism depends upon intimidation. Freedom depends upon living and acting fearlessly, as the Maccabees did against the Greco-Syrians in 166 BC. They were not afraid to stand up to tyranny and won a successful rebellion because of their belief in their higher purpose when the Greco-Syrians tried to force them to eat pig flesh.

Terrorism is designed to weaken a person psychologically and spiritually. The classic terrorist victim psycho-spiritual, unconscious/conscious compromise is referred to as the Stockholm syndrome (“capture bonding”), in which victims become emotionally attached to and identified with their captors. The syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden, in which several bank employees were held hostage in a bank vault from August 23 to 28, 1973 and became sympathetic toward the robbers during negotiations between their captors and the police. The victims even rejected assistance from government officials at one point and defended their captors after they were freed from their six-day ordeal.

Another example of the Stockholm syndrome was with Patricia Hearst, who was captured by the SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army) in 1974; ended up getting into a sexual relationship with their leader; denounced her parents; and robbed banks with them. In other words, the Stockholm syndrome involves the identification and abnormal sympathy with an oppressor. Psychiatrist Kenneth Levin in his 2005 book made the point that this syndrome can afflict an entire people and gave the term “Oslo syndrome” as a collective corollary of the Stockholm syndrome. We see this happening to a variety of social, religious, political groups, and even whole nations.

Demonstrative of the “Oslo syndrome” is Spain’s recent decision to consider deportation proceedings against a former Muslim who escaped Pakistan and was given political asylum in Spain. After renouncing Islam he began writing anti-Islamic articles. Spain has become concerned about his activities because of a possible violent Muslim backlash, which they had experienced previously on other issues. Instead of protecting his freedom of speech they are threatening to deport him and are thus displaying their “Oslo syndrome”. When a person or a country chooses to live in fear and attachment to the material plane rather than in truth, terrorism is effective. The success of terrorism depends on people and humanity in general not valuing their larger spiritual evolution over physical threat. Unfortunately most Western European and Scandinavian countries are suffering from the Oslo Syndrome to some extent.

Nazism, Maoism, Fascism, and Communism all developed their unique propaganda and forms of political correctness (PC) in order to control and shape the minds of their populations. Children in some of these countries were even told to inform on their own parents if they said something contradictory to the current PC. Those who refused to politically submit to their political doctrines were often executed or imprisoned. When we combine the casualties of these regimes, the sum is approximately 150 million people killed. Without much imagination we can see the terroristic potential of the intimidating power of political correctness raising its hateful head in the United States as well.

PC is based on a hate-powered, transient psychological belief; temporal reality; and relative morality. Sometimes it is pure propaganda disguised in relative humanistic terms, which may prioritize cultural, moral relativism and convenience over the principles of justice and the scriptures’ well-defined, perennial morality and ethics that have guided Western culture over the last 4,000 years. Historically these PC moral relativisms have not stood the test of time, no matter how strongly people believe in them in that particular historical moment. The McCarthyism of the 50s is an example of this politically correct attempt at controlling the population. Now days we have a different set of politically correct positions, and McCarthyism is viewed as a terrible thing. The power of political correctness on the mind is just another form of terrorism that is simply more intellectually and ideologically sophisticated. When we bring judgment against people who we deem are not PC, we karmically open the doors of judgment and negative karma against ourselves, which will activate sooner or later.

From a spiritual perspective, one eventually wakes up and realizes the personality and all identities are a case of mistaken identity. This includes PC beliefs, which represent a materialistic worldview often based on political, gender, national, religious, and racial identification rather than apperceiving all of us as the spark of the Divine dancing in the Oneness. These identities, especially when powered by self-righteous hatred toward “other” as they are happening around the world, have brought and continue to bring death, misery, and destruction between peoples. The massacres by the Nazis in Europe, in Darfur, in Sudan, in the Congo, in Pot Pol’s Cambodia, and currently ongoing in the Middle East between Sunnis and Shiites are reflections of the PC terrorist beliefs being acted out.

Part of the spiritual path, which is increasingly important today, is to understand and remember that “all thoughts are illusory thought-form realities which we continually create”. When we empower these with self-righteous hatred we create a powerful mind-controlled political climate that becomes a serious impediment to the path of spiritual liberation. All forms of terrorism are antithetical to spiritual evolution.

There are a few basic practices that help to change the psychological climate away from PC terrorism so prevalent throughout the world today:

  1. To remember we are all unique expressions of the One. We have the right and responsibility to express our uniqueness through our differing opinions. This works, in this context, if we see each other as a spark of the Divine rather than demonizing each other. The success of this particular understanding is based on all asserting the right of the other to exist and be different.
  2. If we start every thought with love, the sentences that follow will follow more in that frequency.
  3. Create an opening for light within every word we speak.
  4. Open each word and gesture to meaning, love, and the unexpectedly positive.
  5. Allow our words to be a reflection of shining thoughts. To do this it helps to be sustained and guided by an inner peace that we develop over time. In the presence of inner peace, the power of hatred so common in our communal, national, and international dialogue is dissipated. Without hatred, terrorism cannot exist. In this way we can change ourselves and the world.
  6. In a climate of peace we can best remember the ultimate truth of who we are and who we are not.

The good news is that eventually the power of the varieties of terrorism will fade out when enough people follow Patrick Henry’s proclamation of “Liberty or Death”; and we wake up to our inner peace and support its development in others. At this stage, one’s inner Truth cannot be seduced or silenced by the fear of death or threats to our materialistic attachments. This is one of the great benefits of liberation as it gives victory over anything subject to death.