What I’ve Learned From Bin Laden

By Cindy Chaney

I turned on the television and news of Osama Bin Laden’s death had just reached the air waves. Ten years after he changed the world with an act of war Navy SEALs finally found him. Like many Americans I felt relief but I also began to reflect and wonder what could we learn, what had I learned? Not just about war but about peace? Was peace possible and would the death of one man help bring us closer to this ideal? Almost immediately I could feel the resistance, reluctance, and skepticism trying to push through to the surface. I could hear my ego screaming “yeah, right buddy! You are totally out of touch with reality; peace is never going to happen.” As I began to listen more to what my heart was saying I realized that I wanted so badly to have peace in the world and within myself. Why was I feeling this resistance?

Thinking back I was actually able to pinpoint the exact occurrence in my life that changed the way I looked at peace. I was twenty-one years old and the year was 2001 and I had just moved to Italy. I was excited to move into a new chapter of my life and to finally be living with my new husband. We had been best friends, high school sweethearts, long distance lovers, and now husband and wife. Our marriage had taken place the summer prior but I insisted on finishing my last year at Chapman University before joining him in Vicenza, Italy where he was stationed for the United States Army. It was exhilarating to pack up all my things and move away from all I had known to start a new life in a foreign country. Italy was breathtaking and I loved feeling like every day I woke up I was on vacation. I arrived in July and by September I was still full of joy as I woke up each day pinching myself and wondering if this really could be my life.

I loved waking up and falling asleep next to my husband, I loved living in Italy, I loved traveling around Europe where everywhere I looked there was something I had never seen before, and I loved being a wife. I was eager to find a job and despite the constant assurance from fellow military spouses, Italians, and even the job placement coordinator that it would be almost impossible to find a job that wasn’t waitress or cashier I was soon hired as a Human Resource Assistant. Things in our country were pretty peaceful at this time and I definitely can say that I had peace within and I was more than abundant. This was the happiest time in my adult life. Even the smallest tasks such as; stopping for a morning cappuccino felt like an exotic holiday adventure. It was a joyous way to live.

By September my husband was in Germany at PLDC which is training to become a sergeant. While he was away we still had not received any of our house hold goods or my car, my job would not be starting for another month, I had not made many friends yet, and I had not learned much Italian. It was a bit of a lonely time for me as there was much solitude. However, I was able to begin to learn my way around town and use the quiet time to learn about myself. I guess you could say this was the calm before the storm. On September 11, 2001 everything changed as my life like many others became overwhelmed with fear. Would my husband be going to war? I began to immediately pray for peace. I prayed that our President would choose peace. I prayed that our leaders would be level headed and not blame a group for a small number of people’s actions. I prayed that the love of my life would be safe from harm. I prayed for peace externally every night before I went to sleep and constantly throughout my day but I never thought of claiming the peace within. I had not yet realized that I could claim myself to be peace and have that projected throughout all of my reality.

Soon our country was at war in Afghanistan and my husband was still in training in Germany. Although I wasn’t in America at the time I hear that many people were eager for revenge and supported our decision to invade Afghanistan and then Iraq (or at least that was the news we were getting in Italy). Other countries were protesting these actions but the Italians were the ones that I identified with the most. They didn’t protest rather they just called for peace. The Italians began to hang up beautiful rainbow flags that said PACE (peace in Italian) in big white letters. I felt the same way as all I wanted was peace. What army wife wouldn’t want peace? I decided to join the Italians in their call for peace and I purchased an exquisite rainbow flag that said PACE and hung it from my balcony.

My PACE flag flew in beautiful harmony for exactly five days before I was forced to take it down. The sergeant in charge of my building called me a communist and called my beloved flag anti-American. I asked him, “How can hoping for peace be anti-American?” He believed that my flag was protesting America. I think part of my soul died that day as taking down that flag went against everything I stood for as a human being. It was devastating for me to think that I was surrounded by people that had the same thought structure as this sergeant. If I only had myself to worry about I would have left the flag. Leaving the flag up would have be the best thing for my soul. Unfortunately, in the military your actions as a military wife affect your husband and so for him I took the flag down.

In this moment I realized that not only had September 11th created war externally, it had a created a war inside me. September 11th and my PACE flag had a domino effect of doubt, worry, fear, and cynicism on my life. Furthermore, I’ve learned that the first time you back down from something you believe in it becomes easier and easier to do so and before you know it you don’t even recognize yourself anymore. The PACE flag was one of the first in a series of decisions where I allowed myself to compromise who I was and what I believed in order to be the wife I thought my husband wanted. It wasn’t until this announcement of Osama’s death that I began to see how much I wanted to be the girl who never backed down again, the one who had high moral standards for herself and those around her, the girl who didn’t let anyone push her around. I need to look at the war that goes on within me. This is the war of the ego vs. spirit and the constant battle of right, wrong, positive, and negative which is where polarity is at.

One visionary, John Lennon, sang “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too, Imagine all the people, Living life in peace.” Perhaps if we are able to operate in the consciousness of total oneness and abundance, and without the need, desire, and want to compete, then we could have peace. As I write this I am making a pledge to myself to never let others make me question what I know is right, to be true to my soul, to allow myself to imagine what Lennon envisioned, to not let others fear influence me, and to wave my PACE flag for the entire world to see. Will you join me? As human beings we must go within ourselves and stop the war within. Once you have established this then the thought conscious level that creates the activity of war in masses and governments will also change.

About Cindy Chaney:Cindy Chaney is currently completing her PhD.D at the University of Sedona where she is studying Metaphysics where her focus is on Holistic Life Coaching. Prior to her PhD.D work she completed a B.A. and a Masters in Metaphysics with The University of Metaphysics where her thesis work was completed on channeling. Prior to her studies of the unknown Chaney was educated at Cameron University with a Master in Business and Chapman University completing a B.A in Organizational Leadership and Communications. Chaney has worn many hats in the business world including; working for the United States Army in Italy, working in finance for the notorious Lehman Brothers, creating a website for nerds called mynerdgirl.com, and as a Business Professor to name a few. Chaney is also an ordained minister, well-trained in the art of reflexology, a lousy but passionate ukulele player, and an avid cat lover.