an opportunity (9/11 20th Anniversary)

like so many, i remember where i was a n 9/11. i saw the second plane hit on live tv and then each tower fall. the images don’t go away. the sadness, the fear, the anger, so palpable.

nearly 3,000 people died that day. citizens like you and me just doing their work, heroic first responders running toward the danger and regular folks rising heroically to help. people who are missed and are loved.

in the two decades since, the death toll has risen to an estimated 900,000 people including our military, allied forces, opposition, contractors, and humanitarian aid workers. the largest numbers though are from civilians. i heard on the radio that there have been an estimated 30,000 suicides related to the events of 9/11 and the wars following. so much suffering.

following 9/11, i came across a book by Vietnamese Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh. the book is titled, “Calming the Fearful Mind: A Zen Response to Terrorism” which would then set me on a path i hadn’t expected.

with such suffering, we can feel helpless what to do. however, there is an opportunity in such moments. an opportunity to acknowledge our feelings, our sadness, our fear, our anger and allow them with an approach that is loving, gentle, and caretaking. we can offer ourselves loving kindness. wishing ourselves safety, health, happiness and ease. we can touch in on these feelings and recognize that others are experiencing them also. in our awareness we know others all around the world are going through experiences similar to ours and often worse. we can offer others the same lovingkindness – “may you be safe, may you be healthy, may you be happy, may you be at ease” or whatever phrases come to mind – “may you be held in love, may you be surrounded in friendship, may you be free from suffering.”

we can use our suffering as an opportunity to be kind to ourselves, to connect to others, to offer lovingkindness and healing to a world in need. it can be a way of honoring the lives lost.

#September11th #911Anniversary #path #practice #Lovingkindness #JinpaLhaga #JMWart #art

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