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Recorded on Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The world was shocked on April 15 when explosions at the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured approximately 180 others. One of the three dead was an 8 year old boy. The media has shown extensive details about the lives affected, acts of heroism to comfort those injured and the hunt for the people responsible for the bombings.

Meanwhile, on the same day as the Boston bombings, 55 people were killed and over 300 injured by bombings in Iraq.

Crises such as the Boston bombings, the Sandyhook shootings and other acts of senseless violence shake us to our very core. For people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and many other countries, along with inner city neighborhoods around the world, deadly violence has become a daily reality.

How do we make sense of the madness? How do we go beyond the bombings?

In this call we will honor and pray for the people killed and/or affected by the violence in Boston, Iraq and beyond. We also will explore some of the big questions that arise:

  • Why does senseless violence happen and what can we do to prevent it?
  • How do we face tragedies and respond in positive, evolutionary ways?
  • How do we see these things from a spiritual lens and keep from getting lost in fear, hopelessness and despair?
  • And the age-old question: How do we best face what has often been called evil?

James O’Dea has worked on the front lines of human rights as the Washington Director of Amnesty International and the frontiers of consciousness as the President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer; and, Gary Zukav is a New York Times bestselling author and spiritual teacher.

They will share insights about how to go into the heartbreak caused by tragedies and how to open to our fullest potential as compassionate humans taking practical action guided by spiritual wisdom. Together, we will look at what it will take to create a culture of peace.

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About the Council Members

James O’Dea is a well-known figure in international social healing who has conducted healing and reconciliation dialogues for 15 years. He is currently the co-director of The Social Healing Project, whose work has led him to Rwanda, Israel/Palestine and Northern Ireland. In addition to teaching the Path of the Peacemaker and Peace Ambassador Training programs at The Shift Network, he is also on the extended faculty of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and is its immediate past president.

The former Washington office director of Amnesty International and CEO of the Seva Foundation, O’Dea is a member of The Evolutionary Leaders Group founded by Deepak Chopra. His most recent book, Creative Stress: A Path for Evolving Souls Living through Personal and Planetary Upheaval (2010), was featured and reviewed in dozens of media outlets.

James is committed to dialogue as a practice and is engaged in dialogues at SEED Graduate Institute between native elders, physicists, and thought leaders; between Israeli and Palestinian psychologists and social workers; and contributes to dialogue on systems thinking and government policy making with the Washington, D.C.-based Global Systems Initiatives.

In August 2010, O’Dea was recognized with the honor of “Champion of Peace, Reconciliation and Forgiveness” by the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance. James lectures and gives workshops all over the world and was a keynote speaker at the Berlin Peace Festival in August 2011. He is also an advisory board member of the Peace Alliance and is working on a book called Cultivating Peace, to be published in 2012.

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual teacher. Her latest book, The Age of Miracles hit #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list. Among her other 9 published books, four of them – including A Return to Love – were #1 New York Times Bestsellers. A Return to Love is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality. A paragraph from that book, beginning "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure" – often misattributed to Nelson Mandela's Inaugural address – is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers.

Marianne's other books include Everyday Grace, A Woman's Worth, Illuminata, Healing the Soul of America, The Gift of Change and Emma and Mommy Talk to God. She has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America and Charlie Rose. Marianne is a native of Houston, Texas. In 1989, she founded Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area. Today, Project Angel Food serves over 1,000 people daily.

Marianne also co-founded The Peace Alliance, a grass roots campaign supporting legislation to establish a U. S. Department of Peace. In December 2006, a NEWSWEEK magazine poll named Marianne Williamson one of the fifty most influential baby boomers. According to Time magazine, "Yoga, the Cabala and Marianne Williamson have been taken up by those seeking a relationship with God that is not strictly tethered to Christianity."

Gary Zukav for years has conveyed the most complex insights in language all can understand. Over and over, he challenges us to see the depth of our potential in the world...and act on that awareness.

He is the author of four consecutive New York Times bestsellers. In 1979, The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics, plumbed the depths of quantum physics and relativity, winning The American Book Award for Science. In 1989, The Seat of the Soul led the way to seeing the alignment of the personality and the soul as the fulfillment of life and captured the imagination of millions, becoming the #1 New York Times bestseller 31 times and remaining on the New York Times Bestseller list three years. Soul Stories (2000), as well as The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness (2002) and The Mind of the Soul: Responsible Choice (2003), both co-authored with Linda Francis, also became New York Times bestsellers. Soul to Soul: Communications from the Heart, (2007) and Spiritual Partnership: The Journey to Authentic Power (2010) are his latest books.

His gentle presence, humor, and wisdom have endeared Gary Zukav to millions of viewers through his 35 appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and his frequent appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Six million copies of his books are in print and translations have been published in 35 languages. Gary Zukav grew up in the Midwest, graduated from Harvard, and became a Special Forces (Green Beret) officer with Vietnam service before writing his first book.