Posted by: Lisa | September 13, 2011

Prayers for Terrorists

What emotion do you feel when you hear the word, “terrorists?”  My guess is most people feel either anger or fear (or both).  Personally, I tend to feel sadness – a deep sadness that hurts my heart.  I feel sad for all the pain caused by terrorists but I also can’t help feeling sad for the terrorists themselves.

It’s hard for me to fathom the depths of pain, insecurity and isolation that lead people to become terrorists – and to persist on that path.

The truth is that terrorists are human beings, children of God, like everyone else.  They are eternal souls, sparks of divinity, like everyone else.  Somewhere in their human development, something went terribly wrong.  Was it their genes or their environment?  Probably both, but most definitely environment.

How many of us might have turned into terrorists if we’d been indoctrinated with hatred, fear and intolerance from infancy?  How many of us would glorify violence and revenge if that’s what our little world forced upon us?  Hatred, violence and war will not cease by more hatred, violence and war – but only through compassion.

I’m not suggesting that we do not defend ourselves when necessary.  Of course, we do!  But there’s a limit to self-defense and it’s done with deep reverence for life – including the lives of those who seek to harm us.  We should be sorrowful rather than proud and jubilant when it’s necessary to defend ourselves.

Every major religion (yes, even Islam) teaches that God is Light and Love, that humans are created in God’s image.  Therefore, let us be bearers of light and love.  One way to do this is to pray for our “enemies” including terrorists.

Here is a list of prayers I offer for terrorists (seriously).  Notice that these prayers are applicable to everyone.  We can begin by praying them for ourselves, then for our loved ones, then for people in general, and finally – if our heart is open enough – for terrorists (or anyone who inflicts harm on others):

  • May you cease thinking of anyone as your enemy.
  • May your basic needs for food/water, clothing, shelter and medicine be met.
  • May you choose to end the cycles of hatred, violence and intolerance.
  • May your heart be opened.
  • May you realize that all people are your brothers and sisters, a part of you.
  • May all your anger, fear and insecurity evaporate.
  • May you know that your God is everyone else’s God, too.
  • May you be the recipient of acts of true compassion – and then pass that compassion on to others.
  • May you know that you are valued as a human being.
  • May you strive to understand and respect people who seem different from you.
  • May you experience deep peace in body and soul.
  • May you cultivate love, truthfulness, generosity and peacefulness toward everyone.
  • May you cultivate (rather than stifle) your children’s innate curiosity, innocence and goodness.

Let us make the world a peaceful place with our compassionate thoughts, words and deeds.

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