Saturday, September 30, 2006

Get better & better - Healthwise Magazine

"Elizabeth Hepburn believes her bout with cancer was a blessing. She learned to take responsibility for her own health, and is now a Wellness Facilitator assisiting others. Her Better & Better series on DVD provides solace and healing for both patients and caregivers during a very painful period of life. Visit "


Often, since the numbing shock of September 11, 2001, I've found myself dancing with the word "trust," and within its resonance there has been great solace. To me there's something much larger going on here than even the entire world being in the grips of imminent danger. And that has to do with the reaction/response that each and every one of us has to this potential threat to our very existence.

We, truly, are the world. Our collective consciousness, or perhaps more accurately, our collective unconsciousness, has been creating the scenarios on our Earth for millennia. And now, with our backs literally to the wall, we face our greatest challenge and, potentially, our finest hour. It's time for each of us to step up to the plate and play our part in raising the consciousness of the entire planet.

"But what can we do?" we cry out. We're only human, with all those incumbent frailties and shortcomings. And to that I say, "No!" It's time to get off that one, and admit, acknowledge and claim that we are also, and most importantly, divine. We are spirit beings as well as human beings, and have immediate access to The Power, The Source, God -- however we wish to label the Divine Presence -- every second of every day. It dwells very peacefully within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson has said:"There is a principle which is the basis of all things -- which all speech aims to say and all action to evolve -- a simple undescribed, undescribable Presence dwelling very peacefully in us, our Rightful Lord. We are not to do, but to let do; not to work, but to be worked upon; and to this homage there is a consent of all thoughtful and just men of all ages and conditions.

"To me this dark and difficult "night" is the grandest opportunity ever presented to the human race to -- once and for all -- embrace and be willing to embody Who We Really Are. We're in the midst of a major earth drama to be sure, but the more we can expand into the larger context, the infinite, sacred context which is pregnant with both the mysterious and the miraculous, the less that anxiety and fear will incapacitate us.

We can choose to hold the perspective that the enormous upset and dis-ease currently raging throughout our world has as its purpose to cleanse and uplift humanity to an awesomely beautiful level of love and understanding and brotherhood. And here is where trust comes in. We need to allow ourselves to trust this arduous process. We need to relax into that trust -- to breathe, to let go, to trust.

Every day, even for only five or ten minutes, lie down on your bed, on your office floor -- whatever -- and make yourself as comfortable as possible:

Place your arms away from the body,palms upturned, legs uncrossed, a real 'let go' position. (If lying down is not an option, do this in a comfortable sitting position.)

Close your eyes and take a slow deep breath in and release it with a sigh.

Sigh out any angst, letting a smile come to your face.

Let the sigh be audible, if possible -- letting yourself "let go," sinking into the bed or floor, really relaxing.

Do this three times, letting yourself become more and more relaxed with each exhalation.

Now breathe naturally, and slowly begin to notice your breathing: how miraculous, how mysterious is this ever-constant breathing.

Say thank you for being breathed.Then notice your beating heart: how miraculous, how mysterious is this beating heart.

Say thank you to the Source of this wonder.

Now notice the energy pulsing through your entire body.

Feel that you are claiming your oneness with Life itself and say thank you to the Source of this energy that permeates the Universe -- the miracle, the mystery, the majesty of which we are all an intrinsic part.

Now, simply and innocently, trust. Trust that you are one with the Infinite Presence. Trust that It is guiding you to be at the right place at the right time. Trust that we are all giving birth to a new and most glorious way of being in this world. Trust that there will be joy for all, and that boundless creativity will be available for manifestations that will thrill us beyond our wildest dreams. Trust that the Innate Intelligence within your heart and mind will act through you with great courage and integrity in the face of any challenge. And always, in all ways, trust that you are never alone.

Whenever in doubt, Come Home to you Heart
Elizabeth Hepburn

Thursday, September 28, 2006


"You've got to be tough, kid."

These were the last words that Hilda, my spiritual teacher, ever said to me. (Hilda Charlton called everyone "kid"' whether you were three or a hundred and three.)

Two years later on the set of a TV show, I discovered that one of the cameramen had worked on the Mother Teresa documentary that so many of us have seen on PBS. When I queried him about his impressions of this iconic spiritual being, his first words were, "She's tough."

Then there was Oprah interviewing Will Smith, who was sharing his experiences preparing for, and shooting the film Ali. He was radiant in both mind and body -- at the very peak of his form, he felt. He spoke of the arduousness of his process -- not only the relentless physical training necessary to portray this legendary athlete but equally, if not more challenging, getting inside the psyche of the awesome, much-bigger-than-life, Mohammed Ali. He recounted times when he was so totally exhausted he felt that he could not continue another second. He'd find himself repeatedly saying deep inside: "Do you want to be champ?" And the answer came: "Yes!" "Do you want to be champ?" "Yes!"

The answer was always "yes" and he'd keep on truckin'. Tough! (I'm not sure whether this motivating technique was Ali's or Will's. In any event, tough!)

And finally, I came across a Time magazine dated June 18, 2001. I'd archived it because of the cover story which was of Eric Weihenmayer's Mt. Everest climb. Eric was 33 years old at the time and he'd been blind since he was 13. To me, there are no words to even begin to describe the unmerciful trials inherent in scaling Mt. Everest under the best of circumstances. But sightless? Mind boggling! He made it to the summit. Tough. One of the sentences in the article stated, "On Everest, toughness is perhaps the most important trait a climber can have."

There seemed to be a theme here.

The first dictionary definition my eyes fell upon defined tough as, "so strong and resilient as to withstand great strain without tearing or breaking." I liked that. Strong and resilient make the word tough much more palatable.

I, for one, was not raised to be "tough." My mother and father would not be amused at all. But strong and resilient -- now that's totally appropriate; and in our current circumstances on the planet, a must for the life scenario into which we were so brashly thrust on September 11, 2001. As a race of people, I feel that all of us are now being called upon to toughen up and roll with the political and economic punches that are assailing our peace of mind.

And there's the pertinent word. No matter how physically strong we are, or well-trained and fed and nurtured our bodies are, it's our minds that are running the show. And fear and depression and worry, and all those negatives that hover so near these days, cannot be allowed "air time" in our precious minds. They're destroyers -- they disempower us. Certainly we have to acknowledge that they're there and not stuff them. But the trick is then to focus our minds on the positive and the creative. Do you want to be champ? Oh yes. Whatever that equivalent is in our own lives, we need to fly with that -- giving our all to whatever we're involved in at the moment -- having a sense of our own being and becoming, and making decisions about our priorities and dreams.

"More than doers we are deciders," says The Book of Runes, the oracular writings that many refer to as the Celtic I Ching. So let us decide this moment that, whatever travail may present itself, we'll take a few deep breaths -- breathing in all the power and courage the Universe has to offer us, exhaling the fear, anxiety and upset -- and then respond to the situation from a place of wisdom, strength and resiliency. Our tuning into the energies of Gandhi and Nelson Mandela and, the aforementioned, Mother Teresa would be most helpful. And let me not exclude Joan of Arc from that list. Invoking the courage of St. Joan is extraordinarily powerful.

One of the characters in Victor VillaseƱor's brilliant book, Rain of Gold says, "Some people think that the things of the heart are so delicate that they must be handled with care. I say that the heart is tough and vigorous, overflowing with life's juices, so we must be tough and decisive and get to the heart of the matter or we lose everything."

To me, the heart is the higher intelligence. In coming home to our hearts at this time on this Earth, I feel it's imperative that we act with a heightened sense of alertness and vitality so as not to "lose everything". Let's have a divine toughness join the repertoire of love, tenderness, caring and compassion deep in our hearts. Let's all decide to be of good cheer, of clear and decisive mind and, most of all, of courageous and strong heart. Let's be "champ". Let's be tough!

Whenever in doubt, Come Home to you Heart
Elizabeth Hepburn

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I Have A Dream

I have a dream. And I had a dream. Let me tell you about the "had" first.

In late January, I dreamt I was flying/hovering/gliding inside the Grand Canyon in a sort of futuristic helicopter, like a glass bubble. I could see in every direction -- even below me. I was completely engulfed in the grandeur. It was totally mind-boggling and exhilarating, and I awakened feeling both excited and frustrated. Frustrated that despite having been geographically close on several occasions, I'd never had the time to get there, and excited about finally going. I knew it would be soon.

On March 1st, I flew to Phoenix and joined my dear friend, Joanie, who was already in the southwest visiting our mutual friends, Jennifer and Andy and Jen's mother, Florence. Their most kind and generous hospitality embraced us on either side of our sojourn to the Canyon. Thank you, beautiful people.

The drive through the red rock country, especially Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, was as spectacular as I'd remembered it, and within a half hour of reaching our destination, Joanie and I were walking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon!

It was a brilliantly clear, cold day and we hiked along the, sometimes quite precarious, path for about four hours into the setting sun. I had come equipped with notepad and pen, and tape recorder with empty cassette prepared to record all the inspiration that would surely come to me at this awesome world-wonder. And the only words that came that day and the entire next day were: "Oh my God. Oh, my God." Every few feet, every time I'd look away for a moment and then back at the Canyon again, it was different.

The sunlight bathing the walls is slightly different -- the colors subtly change; the shapes reconfigure. "Oh my God." I'm practically weeping in joy and overwhelm. There are no words to describe this.

The day we had to leave, Joanie insisted we stop on the way out of the park at the Kaibab Trail, where she and Jen and Andy had descended to the Canyon floor a few years before. Being that it was off season and quite chilly, we were completely alone and I stood mesmerized for about 30 minutes. I didn't ever want to leave. (Thinking about it now, it reminds me of when I saw Michelangelo's David in Florence. My sense is I'd still be standing there if I hadn't had a plane to catch.)

As I stood alone in the magnificence, I began to feel that the profound peace and stillness I was experiencing was unceasingly being poured forth into the ethers from the very bowels of the Canyon -- from every nook and cranny, from every rock face, from every craggy little plant, from every 80 foot tree growing out of sheer rock! It felt like this most sacred place was a gigantic prayer bowl constantly breathing peace into the atmosphere of our Planet. "Oh, my God."

Which brings me to the dream I'm "having." This is a waking dream. My Peace dream.

Long before the Canyon "call," I had a very moving experience in the theatre one evening, I became acutely aware of the enormous energy that's generated in live performance. In the midst of this epiphany I got how totally wonderful and valuable it would be to dedicate this stupendous power to World Peace. And to that end, I've been contacting everyone I can think of in theatre and the arts in NYC with this proposal:

The powerful energy that's created in live performance is undeniable. I propose that this energy, generated hundreds of times a week in theatres all over the city, be dedicated to World Peace.

At this most crucial time on our earth, I feel that it could have an enormous impact on the collective consciousness.

It would simply be a matter of having a sign back stage (and perhaps in the lobby) in all our theatres stating: This Performance Is Dedicated To World Peace, in addition to including this statement in the pre-show, "turn off your beepers" announcement.

That's it! Nothing else to do. This would give every performance another dimension and a focus of deep caring and compassion. We can't even begin to imagine the positive repercussions that could result from this subtle, recurring message.

I see this being implemented in our Broadway and Off- Broadway theatres, at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, in Stadiums and ultimately all over our country and the world. Why not? With violence escalating at a dizzying pace, we must start giving Peace some major PR. And with the eyes of the world on NYC since 9/11, this is surely the place to begin. It would serve as yet another expression of, and tribute to, the generous and indomitable spirit of both our great city and the theatre community. It's also a natural tie-in to the "I Love New York" campaign.

I wrote this in April, 2002 and our world was writhing in anguish. It seems to still be so. And although this idea has not taken root yet, I'll never give up on it. And as I strive to make This Performance Is Dedicated to World Peace a happening in the Big Apple, I'm sharing it here hoping that the concept will catch on and start popping up all over the country -- performances/gatherings in community theatres, universities, high schools -- wherever this powerful focus of energy is created -- all being dedicated to World Peace. I repeat: Why not?

Let us decide that we've had enough of the horror. Let us, please, not sit back and passively accept that for at least the next 20 years our world will be at war, and our beloved country will be relentlessly building more and more sophisticated instruments of destruction. What an aberrant use of our divine creative energy. We know that violence begets violence. How could this possibly be the answer?

Shifting the consciousness in our world is the answer. Shifting the focus of our minds and hearts, which influences the actions we take, to peace and love and beauty and brotherhood is the answer. Shortly after 9/11, Ryan Kelly of the NYC Ballet wrote: "I'm trying to breathe peace more than ever this year - like rain forests that oxygenate the earth, peace- breathers might pacify the planet ..." Let us all become peace-breathers and dedicate our very breath and all the energies that we create in communion with each other to World Peace. The world needs us. If the Grand Canyon can do it, so can we.

In 1963, in his legendary I Have A Dream speech, Martin Luther King said: "We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force." Oh, Yes! Thank you, Dr. King.

Whenever in doubt, Come Home to your Heart
Elizabeth Hepburn

I Am Therefore I Love

"I am therefore I love" came to me while walking in the park one day. So many "hits" come to me in the park -- Central Park, that is. I love this park, smack in the middle of Manhattan, and feel that its preciousness -- (how its exquisite natural beauty incessantly serves the city) -- is incalculable.

So there I was briskly walking along, breathing in the trees and grasses, listening to the many bird songs, and I hear the words: "I think therefore I am; I am therefore I love." What was that? "I think therefore I am; I am therefore I love." Oooh, I like that, thank you. And I've been living with this phrase ever since, particularly the "I am therefore I love" part.

It's clear to me that we've all got "I think" down pretty well. We know that we are conscious beings, perceptive to the world which we inhabit and able to choose and, in many cases, manipulate certain aspects of our lives. It's also very clear to me that it's time to raise the bar.

"I think" is not nearly enough, "I love" is what we're up to now. And this can make life as wonderful as it gets.

I'm not talking about romantic love here, though that's a beautiful expression of this energy. I'm talking about our living in the context of this "glue of the Universe" love -- the energy that we're intrinsically connected to, couldn't get away from if we wanted to, that pulses through every cell of our bodies, vibrates in everything that exists everywhere, energy.

Just for a moment, stop, be very still, as if you were deep in a forest listening to the silence there, and notice your beating heart. Really stop reading for a moment, just let your vision go soft and be ultra alert to these pulsations. Allow yourself to be overwhelmed with gratitude for this most pivotal organ in your body and the invaluable contribution it makes to your aliveness. I perceive it as such a miracle, this physical heart. And now with my training, I daily acknowledge and let my consciousness come to rest within its housing -- the entire chest cavity, metaphysically referred to as the heart center.

My email signature quite spontaneously became "Whenever in doubt, Come Home to your Heart" probably because I know that the love and spirit indwelling our hearts is the ultimate panacea. And what coming home to your heart feels like is abandoning all the buzz in the brain and just sinking into the heart center as if the entire chest cavity were this cradle of tender love energy ever available to embrace and renew us. It is!

Sometimes, when I close my eyes to do this, I imagine myself on a dock on Lake George (Lake George is right up there with Central Park for me -- it was responsible for my first spiritual opening). It's a balmy summer evening, the moon is casting a path of shimmering light on the still waters, the fragrance of pine trees in the delicious clear air refreshes my body with every gentle breath I breathe, and I'm completely relaxed into a chaise lounge made of soft pink down. This scenario of beauty plays out within my heart center, and I'm enfolded in its love for a time. So renewing and healing. Try it. Or create your own "relax into love" scene.

As far as I'm concerned there's nothing more important than love. And regardless of our personal vocations in life, I feel that our core purpose is discovering what a force this love is and expressing it everyday, everywhere to everyone and everything. It's a choice, it's a gift, it's the healing balm for our earth. In the musical comedy Plain and Fancy there's a song called "Follow Your Heart." As a singer I was very drawn to this song -- the wisdom in these lyrics by Arnold Horwitt touched me so.

The heart has reasons the mind cannot know
Follow your heart wherever it wants you to go
Lost in the night you wonder what path to take
Till a whisper comes through Come out of the darkness into the day
Your heart knows the way -- Follow your heart.

Because of my own healing experience, I know the heart is the way. I feel that it's our higher intelligence and totally subscribe to our learning to think with our hearts and love with our minds. When we follow our hearts we're being guided by love, the Universal Force, and not by our societal conditioning and knee-jerk reactions to life. The wisdom of the ages is available to us the more we listen here; and regardless of the prevailing winds in our lives, we find ourselves responding with care and compassion to the relentless flood of stimuli present in our everyday encounters.

The truth is we already are Love. We just don't know it. So the trick is deciding every morning to be a lover, an anonymous lover. No proselytizing, no placards -- quite unassumingly having our modus operandi be love and kindness and excellence, and giving and living from our hearts each day. Winston Churchill words ring so true: "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." For me, giving love is the only way back to sanity and wholeness. And the best news of all is that as we give, we receive. Love is its own reward.

Imagine what a fund of love we will amass for our lives and our world when we invest in our loving hearts each morning by embodying the resolve that:
Each and everyday I am giving and receiving more love. Here I am, world, and I am here to love. Simply because I Am -- I Love.

Whenever in doubt, Come Home to you Heart
Elizabeth Hepburn

Originally published in The New Sun Newspaper -

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Heart Is Where Home Is

In all of my work, I encourage, invite, and cajole people to come home to their hearts -- to the love in their hearts. Ultimately, I feel it's the most valuable journey one will ever take.

It's no accident to me that in the romance languages the word for heart is cor, core, coeur, and that Webster's definitions of the English word "core" include:
1) the inmost part of something and
2) the most important part.

In the framework of my orientation, this leads me to conclude that the very core of us is our heart, the inmost -- the most important part. So as a paradigm shift from the adage "Home is where the heart is," I hereby offer, "The heart is where home is." It seems to me that until our life is aligned with our heart, we're a house divided against itself.

Strictly from a physical point of view, the incessant beating of our heart plays an inestimable role in the overall well-being of the body. And clearly, it's where we feel the experience of love -- romantic love, mother love, the bond we feel for a beloved pet. Now, to my great delight, research scientists at The Institute of Heart Math in Boulder Creek, CA, are telling us that the heart generates the strongest electromagnetic field produced by the body. Moreover, this field becomes even more coherent as the individual shifts to a loving or caring state. This data corroborates what metaphysicians have been telling us forever.

The physical heart is housed in an energy center referred to as the heart center. This center is considered our gateway to spirit and to the most powerful and creative energy in the Universe: Love . It's here that we connect with our Source. This is home.

Several years ago at a Dr. Brugh Joy lecture I received an exquisite gift. His theme that evening had been expanding our awareness of the heart energy. At one point, he had us sitting with our right hand on our heart center (the very center of the chest cavity), feeling the subtle variances in the energies of love there. Slowly, one at a time, he had us tune into Compassion. Tenderness. Gratitude. Joy. Each elicited a slightly different feeling. The next morning I was recapturing this glorious meditation process, and prompted, I'm sure, by this familiar "pledge" pose, these words came to me: "I pledge allegiance to the love in my heart -- to the wonder of wonders within me -- and to the divinity in all life -- One God, One Truth, One Love -- Now and forevermore."* I was so moved by the simplicity of this statement, I repeated it to myself several times and before I entered into my daily routine, wrote it down.

It's my contention that this pledge is what we're up to now. What could possibly be more worthy of our allegiance than love and the deep caring and compassion that love engenders? It will save our lives; it will heal our planet. We sing "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me" and my prayer is for us to finally embody that phrase -- to truly claim our connectedness to all of life through the spirit of love that beats our hearts, and breathes us, and moves the tides, and blooms the flowers. It's all the same energy -- the essential energy of the Universe. God, The Force, The Source, Spirit -- whatever we wish to call it. It's time we make a covenant with that intrinsic part of ourselves.

The Indian master, Sri Nisargardatta Maharaj says: "If we are serious about the sufferings of mankind, we must perfect the only means of help we have, ourselves." In this tiny village of a world we inhabit, all of creation is beckoning us to be a blessing to each other and to our earthly home each day -- to pledge our allegiance first and foremost to Love, the Love in our own hearts. Love is the power. Love is the healer. Love is the answer. Come Home to your Heart.

Whenever in doubt, Come Home to you Heart
Elizabeth Hepburn

Originally published in the New Sun Newspaper

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Let Peace Begin

"An open heart, an open mind, just being kind -- and peace begins" are the opening lyrics to And Peace Begins, a song by Paul Trueblood, a fabulous musician who every Sunday morning for years played piano at the Unity service at Avery Fisher Hall in NYC. I love this song because its message tells us that peace begins right here, right now in our own hearts and minds and in everything we do. World Peace begins at home.

Several years ago, on two separate occasions within the space of about ten days, people shared with me that they thought that world peace would be boring. I was initially stunned and then jostled to an awakening that this was indeed a very prevalent thought: that somehow many of us needed the titillation of frightening scenarios and upheaval and chaos, albeit usually second hand, to make us feel alive. I felt that this concept created an insidiously powerful energy field that unwittingly fueled the upset and cycle of violence all over this planet.

I remember sharing my concern with my spiritual teacher, Hilda Charlton, and she said: "You're absolutely right, dear - you must talk about this at our next peace meeting." (Hilda had created a Meditation Evening for World Peace which met -- and still does -- on the equinoxes and solstices of the year.) I immediately reminded her that I "sing," I don't "talk," to which she replied: "It's about time you spoke up, dear." Her words ring in my ears to this day. So with great trepidation, at the next peace meeting, I actually "spoke up," and I've been speaking up ever since. Thank you, Hilda.

On that auspicious night (for me), I shared what I'd told Hilda. World Peace would be boring?! I went on to explain that I understood that many feel that peace is boring because of its relentless identification with death ("may they rest in peace"), or the images of the serenity and otherworldliness of the monastic life, which the word often evokes. But these many have never experienced the adventures of inner space and the peace, to say nothing of the love, joy, ecstasy -- I could go on and on -- that become available when one is willing to be quiet and dive deeply within. There's nothing like it. Here one discovers that peace is far from boring. Peace is thrilling. Peace is not the absence of violence or upset, it is a vital state that combines an infinite sense of ease with a heightened awareness of aliveness. It is a deep well spring within us from which profound creativity emerges. It is a state that is unceasingly available to us.

So the trick is dismantling the mass consciousness that contends that violence, incessant activity and excitement-seeking are what make life worth living. In my opinion, this franticness serves as a smoke screen, preventing us from ever dealing with Who We Really Are.

I'm reminded of Nelson Mandela quoting Marianne Williamson's words in his 1994 Inaugural Speech: "Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate; our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us..."

The reality that we are powerful beings is scary to us. We don't want to assume that kind of responsibility. However, the time has come -- big time -- for us to march right through that fear. And even though it takes guts and a sense of daring to explore the depths of ourselves, the rewards that flow spontaneously, as the space within us expands, are boundlessly exhilarating.

Our addiction to the excitement of violence can't hold a candle to the energy that accompanies our acceptance of the light that we are. The personal power and mastery available as our lives unfold as expressions of peace and kindness and compassion are awesome and genuinely thrilling.

The world needs us now. We are collectively hosting disastrous events with potentially catastrophic consequences. It behooves each of us to own our place in this unfolding drama, and, in our unique way, be willing to be instruments of peace. To quote Paul Trueblood again: "Don't look for peace in foreign lands; it happens here where we are living. And all it takes is our forgiving; it has to start with you and me." In addition to "It's time to stand up and be counted," I recommend "It's time to sit down, be quiet and listen." Thousands of years ago, Pythagorus advised us: "Learn to be silent. Let your quiet mind listen and absorb." And to this I say, "Amen!"

The stakes are very high now. So for our beloveds, for our world, for future generations, let us do whatever we need to do to dive into and enthusiastically embrace peace in all its guises and spread its healing everywhere we go. Let Peace Begin. Right here. Right now.

Whenever in doubt, Come Home to you Heart
Elizabeth Hepburn

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I had earmarked Tuesday morning, September 11th, to complete this column. For weeks I'd been jotting down thoughts and this was to be the time to collate them. At the top of the page I had written the word "Imagine" and my first musings had been some of the key words in John Lennon's song:
Imagine all the people living for today 
Imagine all the people living life in peace 
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

There were other notes all aimed at using our brilliant imaginations to create more beauty and fulfillment in our personal lives and ever expanding love and peace in our world.

And then it happened!

In certain circles John's song wasn't, and still isn't, well received. His lyrics speak of imagining no countries -- no religions -- the very source of identity for many of us. But John's whole thrust here, it seems to me, is encouraging us to be here now – today – with peace in our hearts and love in our minds. To share this world openly, freely, and with great delight. No more separation – no more arrogance that declares, "I'm better than you because I belong to this religion or live in this country."

The truth is that we are family on this tiny, precious planet and he knew that. He knew that "we are all one." And anything that obscures, denies, or defiles that innate connection and brotherhood is counterproductive to the natural flow of life.

If you're reading this column it's no accident, and you've got work to do. We all do. This is why we're here now. Certainly we have to search our hearts for ways in which we can be helpful to our fellow beings at this crucial time and move forth to do that. But most of all, we need to Imagine.

On Friday evening, Sept. 14th, 2001 all over this country and in many parts of our world, candles were lit in an outpouring of spirit that sent light forth into the darkness. We can be doing that with our thoughts constantly. Light literally emanates from us when we think upon love and peace and all the positive energies.

So begin today to imagine that you are a bearer and beacon of light. See and feel that light is emanating from the center of your chest, what is metaphysically referred to as your heart center. Imagine it like a gigantic search light, and focus it wherever you choose. (You can do this anywhere, anytime -- walking down the street, sitting on the bus, doing the dishes, making the bed, etc. You don't have to be at a prayer meeting or in meditation.)

Also imagine that the light of compassion is pouring from your eyes everywhere you look and that light flows from your hands healing everything you touch. Imagine your "heart search light" flowing into those who are grieving the loss of loved ones and profoundly comforting them. See it descending upon ground zero, assisting the courageous beings who are working there with such relentless determination. See it blessing and releasing those who so abruptly lost their lives. See it bringing hope and new vision to those whose lives have been drastically shattered. See it filling the hearts and minds of all our world leaders with inspiration and great wisdom at this most pivotal hour.

Imagine that you are sending forth light to encircle our earth and rain down a soothing balm that, now and forevermore, heals the anger and hatred that source such egregious acts. Imagine.

Imagine that this time we finally wake up; we get it. Imagine that this time we recognize and claim that the love, the beauty, the deep compassionate caring that become our modus operandi in times of great crisis is who we really are. Imagine that this time we shift into that way of being, always.

Imagine that this is the catalyst that transforms the consciousness of the entire planet. "Imagine all the people sharing all the world" in love, harmony and understanding.

Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than information. Imagine that your mind and heart and every fiber of your being is a healing instrument. It is when you say so. Be the Light.