my lover has told me the night before that he has found another partner, and I am dazed from lack of sleep. I turn on the radio -- the World Trade Center towers have just collapsed. I have a friend and friends of friends in New York. I am suddenly struggling to stay afloat in a whirlpool of loss and potential loss, my lover, my friend -- I never knew how much he meant to me! -- and a collective frenzy of shock, grief and, yes, terror.I am unable to work. Today is a day to spend with friends and family, hugging, praying, crying, talking. I have to call my ex-lover, too. Over the next few days, the question presents itself and persists: how do I respond in a way that keeps me well and functioning?
There are a few milestones on the way. Thursday night I'm at a movement meditation event.
We are sombre, many of us in black, and we do a special dance this evening. Our usual free-form style gives way to a circle. As we are moved we take the centre, the rest of us witness the truths being expressed.
Halfway through, I reach an epiphany. I have my own message for the terrorists: "I have to be alive right now and you have no right to take that away from me." It is the thought I embody from then on through movement, energizing it with every muscle. Fear begins to lose some of its grip.
I urgently decide to strengthen my ongoing life commitment to cultivating more and more love. I note that everyone is freaked about loss of security. Did we ever have any? Around the world, security is an illusion held by those lucky enough to be the right race, the right sex, the right economic class. The only real security is held in a commitment to stop running away, to seek justice, to love.
I hear George Bush say he will "rid the world of evil" and I remember that somewhere on my bookshelf are the words of Hasidic mystic the Baal Shem Tov. Eventually I pull them out: "The indwelling splendour embraces all worlds, all creatures, good and evil. And it is the true Oneness. How, then, can it tolerate within itself the opposites of good and evil? In reality, there is no contradiction, for evil is the very throne of goodness." And, says the commenting author, "The tool for uniting the opposites is called love. Love evil, then, and it is redeemed."
I also affirm that these insights helped me and might therefore help others. So they seemed like the right thing to share in this edition of Alt Health. Wishing everyone well.
EXPERTS"When human beings are overcome by emotion, they cannot see the truth. We try to reduce the emotion little by little by teaching that life is just another chapter in the cycle of existence. We try to accumulate merit in our hearts to transfer to others in need. It's important to share pain with others as we would share joy."
UPA NANDA, monk, Buddhist Community Temple
"I think there's a mythology out there that people are supposed to get past this kind of stuff, and that's an illusion. It's important to talk with family and friends about our feelings, instead of getting over them. The only way to get past it is to face it, otherwise it's an act of denial."
ROBERT RODENSKY, psychologist
"When you are stressed, adrenaline gathers in the liver and depletes the body of nutrients. Herbs that target the nervous system can help. Pumpkin seeds, oat straw and ginseng cleanse the liver. Valerian, hops, skull cap and lavender work like putting water on a burning fire."
HELEN YONG, herbalist