Wednesday, September 05, 2012
"Listen to your being. It is continuously giving you hints; it is a still, small voice. It does not shout at you, that is true. And if you are a little silent you will start feeling your way. Be the person you are. Never try to be another, and you will become mature. Maturity is accepting the responsibility of being oneself, whatsoever the cost. Risking all to be oneself, that's what maturity is all about."
Eleven years ago, we all experienced a shocking and life-changing event when 4 hijacked planes crashed in various parts of the East Coast. There remains much mystery surrounding the incident and like any tragic event that impacts our lives, recalling this historic event can cause ongoing distress.
While we may never fully understand how or why 9/11 happened, we each have an opportunity to allow time to heal wounds and evolve into more compassionate and resilient beings.
A common initial reaction is to move into survival or ‘flight/fight’ modes. These reactions involve increased fear and can lead to shutting out the opportunity to learn about self and others. In a traumatic event, this is a very natural response as our frontal lobe is overruled by our ‘reptilian brain’ with its general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system,priming us to run away from or directly confront the danger.
Further, this reaction when not fully understood can also lead to hatred of the ‘other,’ as in other beliefs, other lifestyles, other ethnicities, etc. This only perpetuates the illusion that we are all separate from one another and we lose sight of what we hold in common.
My hope is that as we each deepen our meditation and yoga practice we begin to see through the illusion of separateness and begin to develop a secondary, a more evolved and sustainable reaction to this historic tragedy. We can all take the time to question and learn about other ways of life. We can each open up our minds and our hearts to those that may hold very different values and beliefs. I am not saying this is easy, but I am confident we humans are capable of moving beyond this fear-based attitude towards the world.
In an interesting article by Lisa Firestone, the Huffington Post explores the impact Trauma is having on our society and ways to help one another overcome some of the symptoms.
And Pema Chordron shares her wisdom that also give us a Buddhist perspective on how our lives are full of both gloriousness and wretchedness:
“Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that's all that's happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. On the other hand, wretchedness--life's painful aspect--softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody's eyes because you feel you haven't got anything to lose--you're just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We'd be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn't have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.”
â€•Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living
If you are reading this blog, this means you are a crucial part of the healing that is already taking place around the planet.
Whether the tragedies of September 11, 2001 directly or indirectly touched your life, or whether you have suffered from other losses or unfortunate situations, know that we are all in this together and you are NOT alone.
I encourage you to share this blog with someone in your life and to add your own two cents for deepening a sense of interconnectedness and community.
In peace and unity,