Love Inspired by the Boston Bombings

zen circle

I was so moved by this email I received from Peter Cutler, an Order of Interbeing Member with the Dharma Name True Sangha Virtue, that I requested his permission to share it with you. Peter is a member of Boston’s Old Path Sangha. He is a spiritual teacher, Zen artist and founding member of the Sacred Circle in Sedona, Arizona. 

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On this blustery day in Sedona, the winds of change could not be more clear. We are going through great transformation. Not only individually but as a nation and a species. This can feel overwhelming and confusing at times, especially if we do not understand what is happening. 

Yesterday there was a bombing in Boston. It was intense, violent, frightening and confusing. There were deaths and serious life-threatening injuries. Human blood filled the streets. We are not used to this in the US. But things are changing and they are changing quickly. 
We don’t have to be Edgar Casey to know that this will not be the last US city to experience this. The FBI currently has a list of over 100 extremist groups that are potential suspects, capable and willing to commit just this type of violent action. Most of these are not foreigners but homegrown citizens with a wide variety of grievances. And there are many more that the FBI does not yet know about. They are growing organically, like weeds. No matter how much is spent on Homeland Security, how tough politicians talk or how many civil liberties are taken away, it will be impossible to prevent the next series of bombings. It is like putting increasingly more toxic poisons on your lawn in the vain and futile hope that next season you will not have weeds. The weeds continue to increase. It is the lawn that dies.
Until we, as a nation, are willing to finally accept the reason for “terrorist” actions, we will continue to see them more and more frequently. These terrorist actions, like the recent shooting sprees, are simply a mirror of the national mind. The current national mind is at war with itself. Liberals and conservatives hate and fear each other. There is hatred of gays, immigrants, Muslims, politicians, the government, different religions, and even different sects of the same religion. And this internal fear, anger, suspicion and hatred is the birthplace of these terrorist acts that so surprise and shock us. Terrorist acts don’t create fear, anger and hatred. They reveal what is already there. They are a mirror. Nothing more.
That’s the bad news. And the good news. We can’t change unless we first clearly see what needs to change. And what needs to change is us.
In Norway a few years ago there was a terrible terrorist bombing that killed 200 people. The reaction of the Norwegian people and the government was not fear, hatred, and revenge, but an outpouring of love. They marched in thousands wearing red roses to symbolize their commitment to love. 
We might find this surprising in the US, but it is actually the most normal human response to tragic acts like this. And, although not reported in the news media or by tough-talking, law-and-order politicians, it is the most normal and common reaction right here in the US too.
If we can still remember the earliest days after 9/11, we remember stories of people as far away as California and Texas leaving their jobs to volunteer in any way they could to help those in New York. There was an enormous swelling of love and compassion in our nation and the world. And yesterday Boston was no different. The media reported frightened people fleeing the blasts, but not the many who were running in the opposite direction. People whose hearts broke open with compassion, love and caring who ran toward the blasts to help anyone who needed help. These were not police, fireman, or government workers. These were ordinary people who were transformed by this event to leave their conditioned mind behind and, at least for a moment, become who they really are. No longer a separate, powerless individual, but an integral part of the whole. This is really what happens in all major tragedies. For a brief moment, we become ourselves again. And that is love, compassion and One ness. And yesterday it happened in Boston. People forgot themselves and their problems and opinions and rushed to help strangers. They didn’t ask if they were Republicans or Democrats, if they were gay or Muslim. People opened their homes to strangers. Restaurants provided free food. The effects are still being felt by many today.
Last night I held a healing circle for the people of Boston. I knew that something was required of me, but I didn’t know exactly what. As we finished, I opened my eyes and the first thing I saw were the lit candles I had placed in the center of the room. At that moment I understood. We are required to keep that inner flame of love and Oneness bright and shinning at all times no matter what the situation or circumstance. 
And this is the only way terrorism comes to an end. The correct response to terrorism is love. Being love, recognizing our essential Oneness with all that is. This is also the correct response to everything else.
Like a miracle, this happens automatically for many people in the early days of every tragedy. It is beautiful and sacred beyond anything you will find in a church. And, as we have seen, this sacred moment of Oneness often becomes distorted by the media, politicians and our own egos. This incredible sacred Truth can soon be layered over with fear, anger, despair and powerlessness.
To prevent this from happening, we need to keep our own flames bright, shining and growing. By doing that we contribute to the consciousness of all. If our consciousness is glowing with love and Oneness, then this very consciousness will also be felt and affect those in Boston who are going through their own growth and transformation, as well as the rest of the world. Our transformation is no different from the transformation of all. Our consciousness is no different from the consciousness of all.
Keep your flame bright.
Much Love,

Painting by Peter Cutler

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Thank you, Peter. With love, dana lee