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Terror and hope in New Zealand

“Let’s go check on people,” Dorothy said. I’d just met her the day before. A resident of Biloxi, Mississippi her house was a total loss after Hurricane Katrina. I was there with a medical mission from Toledo. What a delight it was when she, an African American Baptist woman, and I, a white male Catholic man, dropped in on Biloxi’s Buddhist Temple that served many of the Thai shrimpers who lived in that area! At a moment of great crisis, religious labels, skin tones, genders, and nationalities seemed irrelevant. We were united in a common concern for every individual human being.

New Zealanders are responding the same way after the horrific attack on Muslims in Christchurch. Speaking to the Muslim community in her country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: "When any part of the body suffers, the whole body is in pain. New Zealand mourns with you. We are one." In moments when hatred shows its ugliest face, we awake from the illusion of separateness and remember our oneness. Abiding awareness of our oneness is our ultimate hope.

I recently read a story about Raed Saleh, a 41-year-old Palestinian who is now a high-ranking politician in Berlin. He has a leading role in uniting Muslims, Christians, and Jews in an effort to rebuild a Berlin synagogue that was destroyed by the Nazis. Compassion (from a Latin root meaning "to suffer with") is humanity’s immune-system response to terror. It is a capacity in all human beings that unites us, a potential that reminds us that all of our family trees share a deep and common spiritual DNA. Like Dorothy and Raed, we can all be compassion cells in the effort to create a world in which terror cells have no place.

In honor of Dorothy, and Raed, and all who are willing to show us what being a compassion cell looks like in our troubled world, I offer this nested meditation from Now is Where God Lives:

We are all one.

We are all one

step from the edge.

We are all one

step from the edge

of the annihilation.

We are all one

step from the edge

of the annihilation

of all hatred.

________________

Kevin Anderson, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author, and speaker who lives in the Toledo, Ohio area. His latest book Now is Where God Lives: Nested Meditations to Delight the Mind and Awaken the Soul is available at Amazon or thewingedlife.com

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