12 Years Later, Hearts Are More Open

I was pregnant with Asher, my first niece was a week old, my grandfather was dying, and I was teaching at Oakland Community College when I heard an NPR report that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

I walked into the English department office and shared what I’d heard with the secretaries. “What?” was the general response. “Can’t be true.”

When I got to class, my students asked if I’d heard that a second plane had crashed into the towers. “Shhh…,” I cautioned. “Until we can verify, let’s not speculate.”

By the time we got to the library for our research lesson, a student came running up and saying, “A plane crashed into the Pentagon!” I cautioned again because it was so surreal, it couldn’t possibly be true.

This morning on my way to yoga before work, the radio announcer posed the question: Are we more afraid of terrorists today than we were before September 11, 2001?

I don’t know if there is a researched answer. What I do know is that we are no more in danger or less in danger than we were then. There have always been crazies in the world and people who are out to snuff out good.

But there have always been way more people who good at the core, who share love rather than hate, who look to make the world a little bit better in their own unique way.

We tend to focus as a society and as individuals on the negative. The what-ifs, the fear-based thinking, the waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop.

What if we didn’t take that approach? What if we started each day with the belief that Good will reign supreme, that coming from the heart (rather than fear) is the true path to success?

What if we showed every single person on our path that day (and every day) LOVE? And by love, I mean, universal understanding, not preferential attachment. (Thanks, Swamiji.)

What if?

We can only eliminate terror from the world if we come from a place of love. As long as we stay mired in fear like mud sucking us down, terror can live on.

I’m putting all my bets on love.

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