After the 11th September
This exercise Bert did with us in Stockholm on the 13th September.
"I have been told, that today, at noon, people all over Europe will
observe three minutes of silence to think of the victims of the 11 th
I want to join in, together with you, but not only in silence. Together with
you, honouring these victims, I would like to contemplate something beyond this.
Close your eyes now. Imagine you walk with me into the realm
of the dead.
There we look at these dead people, the victims, and also the
murderers, we look at all of them.
There they lie, next to each other. May be they turn towards
each other, look at each other, from human being to human
being. The victims look at their murderers, and the murderers
look at their victims, until they realize that the others are
human beings, just like they are themselves.
The murderers open their hearts for the victims, and the victims
open their hearts for the murderers. Then they turn
around, and they look into the distance as far as the
horizon, and they bow.
Suddenly they become aware that they are both in the hands of forces much
greater than themselves, the victims and the perpetrators. Both
realize, they stood in the service of something greater and were
completely at its mercy, well beyond their own intentions or their fears
or hopes or plans.
We can also imagine what would happen if also the survivors, if also the
families of the victims and of the perpetrators turn towards this horizon,
and bow to the secret, which is beyond us to unveil, and surrender to it
And imagine what if we bowed, together with them all, to this which is greater.
If we commit ourselves to this unknown, until we feel in accord with it,
then we may more easily leave behind us thoughts of revenge, and the
and may become able to serve peace, and the soul of reconciliation."
The Great Soul
"Close your eyes. See yourself go into
your centre.- And in this centre become wide- wider and wider- expand yourself
beyond itself- and sink into the depth- into the reality that remains- there
they are all gathered- yet scattered- all the dead- those who had a heavy fate-
like some in your family- they also are connected to those whom they wanted to
join- and to those whom they feared- to both- the good and the bad- the victims and the perpetrators- those who completed their lives young- those who were
slaughtered- all of them.
You look at them- as far as your eyes can see- as far as the horizon- and in
your heart, embrace them all.- and there, they open their eyes- and they look at
you- and you stand strong- they all rise like a mighty army- and they encircle
you- you find yourself amongst them.- then the circle opens again- they retreat
and lie down to rest- then you turn away- still standing- sensing them al behind
you- feeling their strength- and like a storm from behind,- you are being
carried forwards- lifted up- back to the light- back into your centre. You have
come back and you see the light."
"Come with me on a journey into the past, as if, years later,
people set out to return to a place where things of major importance happened.
But this time, no dangers lurk, the war is over. It's as if the old warriors,
long after peace was settled, walk over the battlefield again where they had to
prove themselves. Now the grass has grown again, and trees blossom and bear
fruit. They might not even recognize the place. It is not as they remember it. They
need help to find it.
It is strange how differently we can respond to danger. A child stands, frozen
in fear as the big dog approaches. Mother comes, picks it up, the tension
resolves, the child sobs. And soon, it looks at the terrible dog with interest,
from the safe height of mother's arms.
Another one, after cutting himself, can't bear to look at his blood. As soon as
he turns away, the pain eases.
So, it's really bad when all the senses are caught in what is happening,, if
they can't come into play one by one. The person is so overwhelmed that he can't
see and hear and feel what is really going on.
And now, we go on a journey where everybody can see the whole
as he wishes, but not all at once. And to experience the whole, he can have all
the protection he wishes. And where he can understand what matters, one thing after
the other. And you can even be represented, like someone who sits
comfortably in his armchair, closing his eyes and dreaming he is going on a
journey. He is really staying at home safely, and asleep, and yet experiences
everything as if he was there.
the journey takes us into a town, once rich and famous, but now desolate like a
ghost town of the wild west. You can still see the tunnels where they dug for
gold. some houses are still pretty intact. Even the opera house can still be seen. But
the place has been abandoned. For a long time, memory alone lives here.
Undertaking such a journey, one is looking for a knowledgeable guide.. so
arriving at the place, memories come to life. So, here it was what shook his
soul so terribly, what he can hardly bear to look at , even now because it is so
painful. But now the sun is shining above the desolate town. Where once upon was
life, crowdedness, and terror, it has become calm, nearly peaceful.
They walk through the streets, and they find the house. He still is hesitating
whether he wants to risk entering, but his companion goes ahead, to look around
and to make sure the place is safe now and there is still something reminding of
the other times.
Meanwhile the one who stayed outside looks down the empty streets, and memories
emerge of neighbours and friends who used to be there. Memories of scenes
where he was happy and cheerful, full of life and burning for action, like
children whose zest can't be stopped because they move ahead, towards the new,
the unknown, the far, the wide, the adventure and even danger. This way, time is
The companion is waving to his friend to come. As he enters the house, he looks
around and pauses. He knows who could have helped him in those days that he
would have been able to bear the unbearable. People who loved him and who were
strong and courageous and knowing. Now it is as if they were here, as if he
heard their voices and felt their strength. Then his companion takes him by the
hand, and they open the next door.
There he stands. He has returned. He holds the hand that brought him here and
looks around calmly to see how it really was, this, and that, the whole.
Strange, how different it all feels, when he remains recollected and close to
his companion. When he remembers even that which was shut out, and when now ,
finally that which also belongs is put back into its place.
but then his feelings overcome him, and behind that which is obvious, he feels the
pain, he feels the love. It occurs to him that he has come home and sees the
depth where neither right nor vengeance have a place. Where fate is at work,
where humility heals, where powerlessness brings peace. His helper hold his hand
so that he feels secure, and now he breathes deeply and then he lets go.
And what has been damned up for so long can now low away, and he feels light and
As this is completed his companion asks: " May be you took on a burden here
which you must drop because it was never yours and you should not have been
expected to carry it. May be a usurped wrong: as if you had to pay a debt you
never incurred. Leave it here. And also other things that must feel alien to
you: a sickness, a fate, a belief, or a feeling which belong to others, not to
you. And also the decision which was to your detriment, leave them here."
The words are soothing. It is as if he had carried a huge burden, and now he is
putting it down. He draws a deep breath and shakes his body. At first he is as
light as a feather.
The companion speaks again: "May be you also dropped something here or
abandoned something that you need to own as it is rightfully yours. May be a
talent, a deep longing. May be guilt or innocence, memory or confidence. the
courage to live fully to do your deeds. Now gather it all and take it with you,
into your future."
And to these words, he agrees as well. Then he considers what he gave away and
what he has to take back now. As he receives his own he feels the ground under
his feet, he feels his own weight.
Then the companion leads him a few steps further to a door in the background.
They open it and find... the secret which reconciles.
Now he no longer wants to stay. It is time for departure. He thanks the friendly
companion and gets on his way.
Back at home, he needs some time to find his way in his new freedom and his old
But secretly he is beginning to plan a new journey, this time to an