Finding Meaning in the Meaningless

By Darren Main • October 2011

The events of September 11th have changed us all. Certainly Americans have felt a devastating blow to the collective psyche, but it is not just Americans. People in every country and from every faith have been forever changed by this tragedy.

In the wake of this unimaginable act of violence and hatred, we are left with our grief, fear, pain and confusion. Each of us has been hurled into a tailspin that will no doubt alter us in ways we can not begin to imagine. Individually and collectively we have been sucked into a catharsis that has incredible power behind it.

There is no going back. As much as we would love to undo the events of September 11th, that is simply not an option. We must press forward. It will no doubt be years before we can collectively make sense of this, but in the midst of this chaos it is helpful to remember that we have a choice. On the one hand we can choose to allow this tragedy to make us a bitter and cynical people. If we do this, we have chosen to share in the violence of the terrorists, and in effect given them what they want.

On the other hand, we can use atrocity as a catalyst for growth and evolution. In much the same way that the kung fu master will use the attack of his or her assailant to subdue the aggressor, we can choose to do the same. When a Kung Fu master is pushed, he or she pulls. When pulled, they push. This has the effect of turning the energy put forth by the attacker around3⁄4boomerang style. Then the conflict look more like a graceful ballet than a fight.

As people on a spiritual path, it is important to remember this principle. If we respond to violence and hatred with more violence and hatred we have joined the terrorists and allowed hate and fear to spread like a virus. This can only serve to add to our great loss. Responding to these attacks with compassion rather than fear is not easy. But finding our center is possible. Through various forms of prayer and meditation, we can quiet the mind and open the heart. Once we are centered we will be in a position to turn this tragedy into a catalyst for positive change.

I hold in my heart that this will be the last act of terror that this world need witness. This is not a pipe dream. Together we can use the energy behind this attack to lift up all of humanity, bringing us one step closer to the day when we will no longer be divided by race, religion or nationality. Rather we can value all beings as brothers and sisters in Spirit.

As with all things on the spiritual path, spiritual practice is the key. Now more than ever we need to ground ourselves firmly in a practice that will help us to keep the heart open and the mind clear. If enough of us cultivate peace within, this world will reflect that. Unfortunately, the same principle applies if we allow ourselves to become shut down.

Right now, in this very moment, each of us has a choice. Please join me in making a commitment to choosing inner peace, so humanity may once again find balance.