Ground Zero: 9/11 Revisited

New Age. New Rules. New Game. We are now living in a whole new age where the ways that we grew up with no longer work, but have we thought to ask why?

Some of us quickly adapt to change, while others, being human, resist until we turn blue in the face and pass out. This very much applies to those of us who fight the idea of building an Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque at Ground Zero of 9/11. In seizing the initiative, Muslims in New York have the right idea, in that the sacrifice of so many lives is truly sacred; only it would now be more appropriate to expand this into a house of all faiths, not just that of Islam, a shrine where all the great spiritual and philosophic traditions were equally honored.

Today, whether we like it or not, we find ourselves living in a very inclusive, spiritual age, what may be called the Planetary Age. This is an age where the world is rapidly coming together all the while it is falling apart. We enjoy an unparalleled global communications infrastructure while facing environmental destruction, religious violence and economic dislocation.

From a historic standpoint, every event leads us to another. Over time, we come to see that this all happens for a reason. The Modern Age inevitably led us to the Planetary Age. It was a necessary process. The advent of the information age, with satellite communications, along with the emergence of the counterculture, which would then coalesce in the Internet revolution, set the stage. The fall of the Twin Towers was an extremely well designed and costly media event that dramatized the definitive break from the old order. Emerging countries would no longer accept Western secularism as the norm. The shaping of history could no longer be the exclusive domain of people of European descent. No longer could we in the West hide in the corner and count our marbles. We found the hard way that this posture quite simply won't work any more.

We have entered into a radically different age demanding a whole new consciousness. No longer an option, it is a necessity. This is all the more so when our religions, with their accompanying belief systems, remain stuck in the past. Like every other institution, they have done their best to try and keep up with the stunning pace of change. Today, that new consciousness is proving to be our ultimate bridge to transformation. It is highly inclusive, operating on a collective level. We are speaking of a planetary consciousness for a planetary civilization in a planetary age. Why planetary and not global? By glancing at current events, we now see that we live in an era where our problems, as well as our opportunities, have all gone planetary in scope, where everything is taking on an environmental twist. As citizens of the Universe, we must now view our home, Planet Earth, in a cosmic context. The Earth, itself, has become our lowest common denominator.

The tone of this new age has dramatically shifted away from me to we. In other words, we are now in a collectivist era with strong elements of individualism that combines both capitalism and socialism. The new social media and networking intuitively embody this. As such, they provide the foundation for a new global economy. Today, the importance of interrelationships and collective contribution is increasingly obvious. We need each other, on both individual and collective levels, to be able to grow, re-build and move forward in all aspects of life. As the recent movie, "Inception," brilliantly depicts, we are all reflections of one another within the same ultimate mirror. Our current global economic crisis is a prime example of how any one country stumbling can bring down all the rest. The new media infrastructure has, not only shrunken our world and brought us closer together, it has also opened the door to an endless stream of information instantaneously accessible.

On the other hand, this age is profoundly spiritual, whether we like it or not. East and West are rapidly converging as we speak. Each civilization is bringing together powerful elements and insights into what is becoming our new unifying spiritual language. Until now, every faith was boxed within specific geographic walls, abiding its time with precious secrets that would eventually inform every other. The puzzle remained incomplete, because the truth was hidden within different conceptual languages. We can no longer afford to hold our own tradition in isolation. The new consciousness today requires each of us holding it within a planetary context. We can each cherish our individual tradition while developing a keen appreciation of all the others. The coming revelation has to do with the realization that every religious tradition was largely right, but also incomplete. When the pieces of the puzzle all fall into place, we will find that the new whole, "Face of God," if you will, is far greater than the sum of its parts.

We won't resolve the challenges of this new era by stubbornly retreating into passé modernity. It is time that we embrace the rich tapestry of cultural and religious traditions increasingly available to us in our ever-shrinking world.

We invite your thoughts.