The Invitation that Terrorism Offers Us

On Tuesday Chameli and I woke up here in California to news of another devastating terrorist attack: this time in Brussels Airport and subway station. Of course, our hearts go out to the 31 people who died, to the hundreds who were wounded, and to their families. And, this affects all of us. It is only a few months since the bombings in Paris, the bombings in London, and… we are becoming accustomed now to regularly seeing this kind of news. It can create a pervasive sense of anxiety and helplessness.

Many people feel equally concerned about the response of politicians: using fear to justify even more control, even more of an “us against them” mentality, and even more government snooping. It can seem like an intelligent response: to have more heavily armed police, more searches of suspects, and more surveillance of phones and email. But is this really the world we want to grow into, is this the future we want to create?

Chameli and I both read as much as we could about what happened in Brussels, because we empathize, we want to know what is happening, we want to contemplate if there is a way to make a positive impact – in our own way. As I read different news stories, I was most touched by this one:

The Caption says: Sarah, 20, is heading to school in west Brussels today.  Her friend’s friend disappeared yesterday after the train attack at Maelbeek.  Says Sarah: “We know these things can happen, but we must go on.”

There feels something sane and balanced about this: to take a stand not to allow the fear of what might happen change the way that you live your life. I am in with Sarah: on Monday I get on a plane to fly to Frankfurt, where I’ll be spending a month teaching in Europe.   

But… I think that there is an even greater invitation for us in everything that is happening today. I’d like to hear your opinion about it. Terrorist attacks, the response of right-wing governments to these attacks, as well as economic disparity, and environmental imbalance… all of these things can also be seen as an urgent and timely invitation to evolve. Albert Einstein is reputed to have said “You cannot solve any problem in the same state of consciousness in which it was created.” More guns, more security, more prejudice is not creating the world we want to leave to our children. Instead we can consider, you and I, what kind of world we DO want to create, and we can take our action based on that.

So what does it mean: to evolve?

What I mean is not just something “spiritual:” where you have a deep inner realization of your true nature as timeless and infinite. That IS important… that is essential, but it goes beyond that. The kind of evolution I mean is to allow awakening to overflow into an active form of living our fullest potential: giving the gifts that are latent within us, becoming a powerful fierce force for the good that we want to create.

That, Arjuna, is why I do what I do. Many decades ago when I was a student at Cambridge University I did pretty well with my exams. I remember my grandfather saying to me, “With a first-class degree from Cambridge, the world is your oyster. You can do whatever you want.” Well, Grandpa, I have done what I want with my life. This is why I do what I do. It is why I travel to many countries, it is why I teach what I do, it is why I train coaches, it is why write books.

I feel we urgently need to evolve, as a race, and I want to use whatever tiny contribution I can make in my life to being a part of that evolution: a voice and a pen for that evolution.

Last weekend, before the news of these attacks, I wrote an article for you about Radical Brilliance. It is the primary thing I teach these days: how people can have original life-changing ideas that have the greatest impact on everyone around them. It was due to be published on Tuesday, but I held off because it seemed insensitive or inappropriate to write about brilliance the same day that so many people died. But having slept on it, I think this is extremely relevant and timely. To make the world a better place, a safer place, a less divided place requires all of us to wake up our latent brilliance and to become powerful forces of something new that has not been lived before.
http://arjunaardagh.com/brilliance/

Next week I’ll be traveling to Europe, and teaching Radical Brilliance weekends in Basel, Switzerland; in Warsaw, Poland; and in Frankfurt, Germany. In May I’ll be in Vancouver, Canada. [Kindly do not conclude that I have written this letter just to sell you seminars! I don’t get paid to teach these workshops, whatever income they produce goes to pay the expenses of what we do with Awakening Coaching.]

At these times that can be cause for anxiety or feelings of powerlessness, please, dear friend, use this as an opportunity to wake up to the part of you that has something original, new, and brilliant to give to the world.
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