“Hate only causes more hate. My daughter would’ve said, ‘Why hate?
What would that accomplish or do for anyone?’ Heather would not want people to hate.”
– Mrs. Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer,
who was killed in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017
As many of you know, we live in Charlottesville, Virginia. We have always valued our quality of life in this idyllic part of the world. Charlottesville is a long-time center of democratic ideals, the site where the writer of our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, chose to place his state university. It has been a center of enlightening thought and wide-ranging research including the exploration of NDEs and all manner of expressions of non-local consciousness at the University of Virginia.
So, like many of you and many in my current hometown, we were shocked and appalled at the uprising of hatred by neo-Nazis and other white supremacist groups that led to the death of a sweet soul who peacefully stood for the principles of equality, as well as two peace officers just doing their job that day. As we learned about the unfolding events from afar while presenting at the IIIHS conference in Montreal, we were touched and heartened to witness a march of solidarity and support for our town as we shared dinner with Raymond Moody at an outdoor café.
The perpetrators argue that they are acting under the constitutional protection of our first amendment (freedom of speech and of peaceable assembly). I doubt the founding fathers ever anticipated that some would bring arms (assault rifles, bludgeons and other lethal weapons, including Dodge Chargers) to a decidedly unpeaceable assembly. Their implication is that if the opposing side doesn’t agree with their position, that they will then be maimed or killed. The situation is insane, and must come to an end.
Any student of 20th century history realizes that the world responded to similar bigotry, hatred and racism (that began with street brawls in Germany similar to the one in Charlottesville), professed on the scale of nations, with a war that enflamed the entire globe, left over 53 million people dead, and ended with the instant incineration of between 130,000 and 225,000 people in the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Such is the ultimate fate of hatred and intolerance. The lesson is clear – violent hatred and racism are no longer acceptable modes of human behavior. Remnants of such thinking have survived into the 21st century, but it is time for humanity to grow up and wake up to the reality that we are all in this together, that love will always trump hatred.
Witness the case of Dylann Roof’s shooting of nine innocent black worshipers in the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, SC in June 2015. This incident led to exactly the opposite of what he intended: the entire community banded together to denounce such senseless violence, and the confederate flag, a divisive symbol of bigotry and racism, came down once and for all after more than half a century flying over the state capital in Columbia.
It is crucial for us to remember our history – those who fail to do so are doomed to repeat it. But as these confederate statues shift from being of historical or artistic importance to symbols of hate, they become dispensable, and are being summarily removed (as in Baltimore and New Orleans) because of their role as symbols of hatred and divisiveness. Our country is founded on far loftier principles of equality and justice, a fact we should trumpet with great pride.
Along with the victims of violence in Charlottesville, often overlooked is the fact that the hater is also a victim of his own mindset – living a life filled with hatred is a curse in itself. We must ensure that all souls, especially our younger generation, are influenced by love and connection, acceptance and resilience, forgiveness and compassion.
No matter one’s politics, terrorism in any guise is wrong. Hate is wrong.
No matter one’s earthly life circumstance and challenges, we are all here to learn. Compassion is healing. Hatred is not.
No matter one’s religion, country or race, all souls seek Oneness. Hate divides.
The heart of consciousness that each soul seeks invites us all – no matter where we are right now. It calls us home to love, to rise above the noise, to look at one another with open eyes of tolerance, to join hands in today’s mourning and in tomorrow’s continuing journey to become whole.
As Heather would’ve said, “There is no point in the hate.”
The tragic events in Charlottesville mark a turning point, an opportunity for reconciliation and the growth of peace and harmony in our world. Fortuitously, for the first time in 99 years, a total eclipse of the sun will cross the United States on Monday, August 21, 2017. Eclipses have long been seen as potentially marking major shifts in humanity, and we prefer to view this coming eclipse as a sign that brighter days are ahead for all. Sacred Acoustics has created a special recording designed to tune in to the energies of the eclipse, and to begin the process of collective healing and shifting our world from divisiveness to wholeness. Learn more here.
Each and every one of us can come to renounce violence and bigotry, by cultivating within ourselves a choice of greater compassion and kindness to others. This will ultimately make all the difference in the world – peace and harmony are not some pie-in-the sky idealist dream – they are very real qualities of the world we can co-create. The process starts with you and me and each one of us.
Eben and Karen
PS: Tragically, as we were preparing this letter to you, we received word of another terrorist driving into a crowd of innocent people in Barcelona. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims, families and communities in Spain and around the world, as we realize the urgent imperative to meditate and live from compassion, so that love prevails over hate on our shared planet.
PD: Trágicamente, mientras nos preparábamos esta carta, recibimos la noticia de otro terrorista que conducía a una multitud de inocentes en Barcelona. Nuestros corazones y oraciones están con las víctimas, a las familias y a las comunidades de España y de todo el mundo, cuando nos damos cuenta del imperativo urgente de meditar y vivir de la compasión, para que el amor prevalezca sobre el odio en nuestro planeta compartido.