Reverend Diane Berke is the Co-Founder & Spiritual Director of One-Spirit Learning Alliance & One-Spirit Interfaith Seminary in NYC. 

Q: How does one find hope in remembering the horrific events of 9/11?

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A: Very often the most difficult time in our lives are a catalyst for very deep and fundamental change in how we live and how we understand the world, and even out of a tragedy like 9/11, if that can be a wakeup call for the majority of human beings to find a way to come together rather than to continue these cycles of escalating hatred and violence, then hope has been achieved. As members of a human family we have to find ways of learning to understand each other and somehow reconnect with the love in our hearts, which is not easy to do.

Q: For many, this anniversary will surely bring up strong feelings of loss and grief. Is it possible to accept the move through those feelings and learn to forgive?

A: During these tough times of remembrance, I think the first thing is that there is no timetable for getting over grief. Forgiveness in the spiritual sense is not ever a matter of condoning things that have been done and saying that they are right or justifiable. The real nature of forgiveness is saying that I will no longer live my life simply being held hostage to the pain of the past but will find a way to move forward…

Q: What more can you say about the idea of moving forward while forgiving at the same time?

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A: It is absolutely crucial to understand that moving forward in a way that is life- enhancing and healing helps one reclaim and express in ever fuller ways their deepest humanity. Every one of us makes mistakes that we need to be forgiven for. We will simply perpetuate a cycle of violence unless someone is willing to take a first step to see each other’s humanity again.

Q: How can we see the humanity in our enemy?

A: We need to discover, recognize and embrace one another as brothers and sisters. This begins with asking yourself what is that common underlying thread where we can come together as brothers and sisters? Looking for the one common humanity and start by discovering what is true and wonderful within and for yourself.

One-Spirit Learning Alliance & One-Spirit Interfaith Seminary offers professional training in interspiritual counseling and integral mentoring and ministry. More at One-Spirit Learning Alliance.

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Reverend Diane Berke will be speaking at A Celebration of Our Oneness: In Commemoration of September 11 at Integral Yoga Institute NYC on Saturday 9/10/2011 at 6pm.