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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Combat Sadness and Fear with Joy- "Watering the seeds of Joy"

A moment of joy on an island—"Watering the seeds of joy"

This post is hard to write.  I've been very aware for months that today would be the 10th anniversary of 9-11.  I've been trying to integrate my feelings about it with my actions and what I read and hear on the radio.  I'm aware that on a very deep level we've chosen today to feel so much of the grief and loss that we've lived with for ten years.  I think all of us feel sad—for those who were lost and those who loved them, for the years of war we've lived with since then, and for ourselves.

It feels like ten years ago we truly lost our innocence. My children don't know of a world when we weren't at war, just as as a child I didn't know anything other than a world with Vietnam constantly showing bodies on the TV news. But horrible as that was, this feeling of a loss of safety has lasted longer.

What do we do with this change in the world?  What have you done? So many people have started vibrant things in reaction. started in response to 9-11. (Here's the founder's blog entry about their start.)

I attended a retreat with Thich Nhat Hahn shortly after 9-11.  For five days he spoke of how to regain our feelings of safety.  In his way of thinking, we were wounded and needed to comfort ourselves.  Deep listening and deep hearing were two tools he taught.  We learned to listen to our own pain and comfort it, and we learned to listen and truly hear the feelings of others.  Only through this, he thought, could we achieve peace in the world and in ourselves. Instead of focusing on everything going on, he taught us to "water the seeds of joy".  Only by strengthening our minds could we become happier and more loving; more and more able to accept events with a calm outlook.

I thought of that today, meditating in the garden.  I planted pink zinnias last week to encourage the weak little zinnias that were coming up from seed, struggling as they were.  Water the seeds of joy. You can't just accept all the bad things that happen in the have to plant beauty.

We have to have courage to live more in love and less in fear.  Even if this takes conscious effort and a daily time set aside to "notice" our emotions and generate positive ones, we have to.  If we don't, we go the way of heart-breaking despair and disillusionment. 

You may find something objectionable in the way I've written this.  It's very easy to be sensitive to anyone's ideas about 9-11.  I hope not.  I'm just trying to suggest a way that leads to inner contentment and peace.

That can only help everyone.

Be well!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful entry, as always, Laura. I had read the quote "watering the seeds of joy" somewhere, perhaps in the book you gave me last year - what an uncannily appropriate piece of timing that was. It is a concept I have taken to heart in the intervening difficult months, and it has been a big help. Keep writing, your readers love your work, and you! Jenna

Laura said...

It is a great concept! If you ever get to go hear Thich Nhat Hahn, you'd really enjoy him.

Hugs, Jenna, thanks for reading.

Laura said...

Here's a follow up thought to this thread: My old zinnias from seed just today opened with the same color flower as the zinnias I bought to "prime the pump".

Coincidence? Or did they switch colors to match the new ones?

I'll never know.

But like likes like.
It also fits the "water the seeds of joy" idea. You reap what you sow.


Janice Lynne Lundy said...

Laura, I have not been up on reading your blog but was so glad I came to it this morning. Very beautiful, powerful...I agree with you that we must plant and water seeds of joy. I see this sentiment evident in the life of the Dalai Lama. He invites us to recognize the suffering (as you do here) and then how to break free from our ignorance that causes that suffering. One beautiful gateway is through joy.

And planting flowers!

Love to you this day. Jan

Laura said...

I agree, we need to break through our own ignorance that causes suffering, definitely. Not sure how it works when it's universal, world-wide suffering, but fostering joy does help everyone, including ourselves. At least we can then develop patience, endurance, and compassion.

Thanks for dropping by, Jan! Enjoy your day.