Reverend Jane Galloway (credit: left and logo, The Sacred Center; right top and right bottom, Jai Mitchell)

Reverend Jane Galloway is Spiritual Director of Sacred Center, New York: a new-thought spiritual center where they look into the depth tradition from ancient wisdom traditions and then study that through the lens of new thought.

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Q: Can you please give us your name and title?

A: My name is Reverend Dr. Jane Galloway and I am the Spiritual Director of Sacred Center, New York. We are a new-thought spiritual center where we look into the depth tradition from ancient wisdom traditions and then study that through the lens of new thought…quantum physics, etcetera.

Q: If I were to give you an open forum to discuss anything about the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, what would you like to say?

A: I think that this is a powerful moment. There are powerful moments in time and I think this is one of them: a very powerful moment during which time we can really… with clear focus at the levels of the deepest parts of ourselves- adopt a real intentionality toward healing and conciliation and getting to know one another across lines of difference.

Q: How can we start the process of getting to know one another?

A: First of all, remember that what makes us distinct from one another also makes us juicy and specific and interesting, and to do this without erasing culture.

I think we have a bigger conversation to have about what unites us at the level of spirit so that we can be living in a world where we have great diversity and appreciation for that diversity. I think it’s critical for us to begin having that conversation today.

We’re looking at a planet, which is severely compromised in terms of weather, economics, our children and their education and their sense of future, so I think that this is a conversation that we need to have with one another. We have a global culture, but we don’t necessarily have well-developed ways of bridging the gaps at the deep level between cultures. That includes religious cultures, so-called racial cultures, et cetera.

Q: What do you see as having changed most in America since the attacks of 9/11 and what type of message of hope is out there?

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A: I think that there is always tremendous hope when we come back to revisit something and try to look at where we were, where we’ve come, and where we’re going, and what our larger aspirations are. What I have seen happening in our world is that initially people were extremely responsive in a very compassionate way and over the 10 years I think we’ve been able to see many different elements of response to what happened and so what I see as our challenge and both the seed of hope are kind of rooted in the same thing. We are getting a chance to look at some of our deeper questions about sameness and different-ness and how we look at one another through the lens of the heart.

Q: In what way does your practice or faith, here at this church, teach you to deal with forgiveness and healing?

A: The New Thought tradition is a 20th century movement understood through the lens of the transcendentalists: Emerson and Thoreau, etc. and it is a philosophical way of looking at deeper teachings from all religious paths. In fact, forgiveness is a core principal in every religious path. What New Thought says about forgiveness is that it is one of the key elements in our holistic understanding of whom we are as human beings. It is a key part of what we are about as people and as people studying this path. All great religions have a forgiveness and compassion component about them.

Q: What does your faith say specifically about forgiveness to the perpetrators of 9/11?

A: The New Thought Movement is a lens through which one looks at the deeper teachings of all great religions and so all great religions have a forgiveness and compassion component as part of them and so this is certainly what we focus upon. What I would say from a sociological perspective we are really getting a chance to look at who we are as a global community, not just as a result of 9/11 but also as a result of an economic disastrous situation which happened not that long after people started to try to get back on their feet in terms of some kind of recovery from 9/11, so people are competing for scarce resources and historically these are the kinds of situations in which people find themselves at odds with one another as opposed to helping one another so beyond what my faith path says about it which all faith paths say love thy neighbor thyself, basically, but beyond what the faith path says I think it is incumbent upon us to look at who we are as people culturally in a deeper way than we normally have and I think that we can’t live from sound bites. I think we can’t have a sound bite mentality about who the other is and so the Muslim Community is extremely diverse. There are people all the way to a very very…more fundamentalist kind of way of understanding the Quran and the teachings and then there are people who are extremely progressive and so I think one of the important things for us to do is to become more educated about one another.

Q: If I were to give you an open forum to discuss anything about the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, what would you like to say?

A: I think that is good for us to look at this idea of something called the “anniversary syndrome” and it’s something that kind of encodes in our DNA almost. Sometimes you feel like, why am I feeling this way, I’m thinking about my father today, and oh…right, it would have been his 89th birthday, so we have many layers of who we are which respond to significant events and certainly traumatic events, but not just traumatic events and so we are coming up upon an anniversary and many layers of feeling about what’s that about get to come up now for us so what I would say is if we look at this in kind of a spiral way of talking about things…OK – we’re coming back up upon something that was a terribly traumatic event. And then we have ten years of living and rearranging and understanding and crisis and coming together to fold into our understanding of who we are and where we find ourselves right on this anniversary moment and now, we really have a chance to set a clear intention about where we go from here.

Sacred Center New York is a spiritual center, a sacred center, a community, which embraces and celebrates the teachings that the Sacred is in everything. We honor the Ancient Wisdom of the ages as expressed in sacred texts and enlightened revelations, and we learn to activate the Eternal Truths and Universal Laws in our lives. More at The Sacred Center.

Reverend Jane Galloway 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.

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Photos and interview by Jai Mitchell.