As we fly our American flags, and take a moment (or the day) to reflect on the tragic events of 9/11, I pray that we ask ourselves the question that the Dali Lama posed 10 years ago on this day:
"Today the human soul asks the question: What can I do to preserve the beauty and the wonder of our world and to eliminate the anger and hatred—and the disparity that inevitably causes it—in that part of the world which I touch? Please seek to answer that question today, with all the maginificence that is You. What can you do TODAY... this very moment?"
~ The Dalai Lama of Tibet, from remarks made on 9.11.2001
I cannot help but be drawn back to the events of 9/11. It is etched in my psyche; I remember exactly what I was doing and can recall the physical sensation of horror that washed over me as I watched the second plane hit the South Tower. Simultaneously, the urge to be with my kids became overwhelming and I remember driving to the school and taking them home. I wanted them with me - safe. They played outside while I sat glued to the TV sobbing. When the towers came crashing down, and I watched the people of NY screaming and running for their lives, I became numb.
I think there is an "off" switch in each of us when it just becomes too much. The images were so disturbing and the loss of life devastating. And, selfishly, I was both grateful and guilty that my family was safe.
I no longer take anything for granted. If 9/11 taught us anything, I hope it taught us to be in gratitude daily. And to ask the question that the Dali Lama posed -"What can I do to preserve the beauty and the wonder of our world and to eliminate the anger and hatred—and the disparity that inevitably causes it—in that part of the world which I touch?"