Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve been worried that we may be heading into a time of mass hysteria, McCarthyism, or worse. With so much tragedy and negativism in the news every hour and every day, it’s hard to stop, breathe, and enjoy the moment. It’s hard to see the good that exists in each of us. But there is good, or at least the potential for good, everywhere, whether you call it an Inner Light, the Buddha Nature, God, Allah, or good vibrations.
In recent days, I’ve found that place in myself where I can once again enjoy each moment. Tragedies sometimes distract me, and I lose my path back to that place, that home. It’s ironic, because in the long run tragedies teach us how much we need that place. When awful things happen and awful words are spoken, what we need more than anything is for us all to help guide each other back home.
I’ve been reminded that, whatever politicians do or say, the world is indeed shrinking, and familiarity breeds compassion, not contempt. We’re not born evil, but maybe we’re born lost and we each need to find that true home in us — what my teacher Thich Nhat Hanh calls our island where we are safe at at peace.
Seeing what individuals do to bring each other joy brings me joy and leads me to that home. A 91-year-old woman helped me home by crocheting some cute stuffed animals to cheer up her Muslim doctor after she heard hurtful things about Muslims on the news. I read her story on the Kindness Blog.
On an internet magazine called Good, I read about the synagogue in Canada’s Ontario Province that opened its doors for Muslim prayers after a fire, possibly caused by arson, destroyed the only mosque in its city.
And, for a third cheer, I read today about the Breathless Choir, made up of 18 people with severe breathing problems — people who love to sing but thought they had lost the ability. Choirmaster Gareth Malone, whose life’s work is getting “unlikely people singing,” coached them each using creative techniques, and they performed at the Apollo Theater in New York after he spent one week with them.
Here’s the story of the Breathless Choir, and below is its Apollo Theater performance.
Copyright 2015 © Mel Harkrader Pine