Open Letter to George W. Bush

by Alan Levin

Dear George W. Bush,

I am writing to you with little hope you will ever read this letter. So, I am sending this out as an open letter to the George W. Bush inside myself and most other Americans, if not most people in the world. You see, because of the position you occupy, you are in all of us. There is a man inside our minds that is you. I am trying to reach that man.

I'm doing this, because the other day, on T.V., I finally saw you. I mean that I finally allowed myself to see you. You made it a little easier. You were talking to reporters in the Oval Office, and for a moment seemed to slip out of role. The Presidential mask came off and you said "Look, I'm a loving guy". Your voice quivered a bit and your face muscles strained to hold back emotion as you slid back into stern face and said, "But, I have a job to do.... and I'm going to do it." Once again, you were the man in charge, but still visibly holding back emotion. So, I saw the little boy that you are, and the ordinary man. An ordinary man caught in an impossibly complex position.

This is a big shift for me. Up until now, I must confess, I have been mostly angry at you, holding you with contempt, disrespect and even hatred. Being a "political progressive", my ideas and agendas strongly conflict with your actions and policies.
I now see you as a man; a man trapped in a steel grid of the most powerful forces on this earth. The most powerful human created institutions are weighing in on you at all times, telling you, "this is what you must do", "this is what you must say". The intensity of their commanding opinions is heightened by the world-wide perception, that you hold the keys to the fate of the world. Lord, what a load on the shoulders. As I began to recognize you as imprisoned in a pattern that the little man in me also shares, I felt a need to remind you (and me) of your (our) rights:

You have the right to remain silent. You have a right to walk into the woods, or into your room, turn off all phones, t.v.s, and other communication devices, place guardians at all the doors, and go inside your self. You may release all thoughts of terrorism, counter-terrorism, CIA, FBI, Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Afghanistan, Republicans, Democrats, opinion polls, and even your role as President, and just experience what is going on in your heart and body.

You have the right to whatever feelings you are having. It's hard to imagine being in your place and not being somewhat afraid. I'm out here and I'm scared. Afraid of what will happen next. Afraid of what you must do. Afraid of not knowing what to do, of doing the wrong thing, of being judged by your Father, Mother, Wife, associates, the masses of people watching your every move. Also, if you are indeed opening your heart to the people and families directly hurt by the terror, the grief is profoundly heavy to bear. And of course, you are entitled to feel frustration, rage, and the urge for revenge.

You have the right to feel the pain in your body. The position you are in must be absolutely gut wrenching. Having to pose as strong and determined, confident in the face of what you yourself believe is EVIL. It's hard to imagine facing evil without trembling, without tremendous tension in the neck and shoulders, a tight knot in the belly. You have a right to just feel your own pain in the midst of this.

You have the right to not know what to do. Even with your advisors and associates and media pundits strong proclamations of what must be done, you are the one who must choose, and you may not really know what is right. This is an immensely difficult situation! to put it mildly. Your slightest gestures and utterances ripple across the globe. You are the Commander in Chief of the most powerful humanly driven forces on this planet (second only to the powers of Mother Nature herself). How can you possibly KNOW what to do? What will serve the greatest good? (and I trust that this is the intention of your deepest self). It's ok if you don't know, if your not sure.

You have the right to ask for help. This is critical. In the sanctity of your silent place, in touch with your pain and not knowing, you may ask with your most authentic voice for help from that which brings life and peace to this world. It will be a balm for your hurt, fear and anger. You may also be given guidance on what to do. For you, it may come from Jesus, truly a Light unto us all. No matter that for others it will have different names and forms. In this presence you are indeed an ordinary man, and I'm sure you will be grateful for that.

You have the right to choose PEACE. With all the pressures for hate and rage and vengeance, pressures to try to control the situation, you have a choice in this moment. You can choose to breath. And when you exhale, exhale peace and justice; to make your next words, your next step, your next actions supportive of peace and the justice that sustains peace. And to continue that with each breath. And when you forget, go back to the beginning, find the quiet place, and remember your rights.

A couple of further thoughts: Please do not try to "rid the world of evil". I know you said that in a moment of trying to appear strong and on top of things, but I just want to remind you that that is not your job. You have a very big job, but not that big.

Second, in case you didn't receive it, I am sending below the message the Dalai sent you. He is a very wise man, with great humility, and loves you in a way that few living beings are capable of. (editor's note: see link to letter below)

With great respect for the divine presence manifesting as you, President George W. Bush, and all the rest of us. May we find the wisdom, courage and will to do the right thing.

Alan Levin

Alan Levin

Reprinted with permission


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