Tuesday morning when I took out the recycling, I saw several people up and down the alley bending over the big bins searching through the trash. I’d never seen so many people—all looking like homeless grandparents—foraging in the alley. The bottle and can collectors and the homeless folks were quietly working to gather whatever they could find to redeem, sell, or eat. Seeing this, my heart was heavy. I remember when homeless people were a rare sight on our streets.
The night before, I’d learned about the terror attack in Manchester. With immense sorrow, we mourn the loss of innocent lives—and the loss of carefree concert-going. Can we ever let our kids go to concerts again without worrying? When did concerts and public spaces become known as “soft targets”? How do we stay present and brave in the face of poverty, violence, and fears for our home, planet Earth?
With a little bit of mindfulness training, we learn how to use our right as human beings to choose how and where to direct our attention. When we notice that our attention is caught by frightening images, stuck on anxious or angry thoughts, or sinking into despair, we free our hearts by shifting back to our practice, over and over again. Mindfulness and compassion can go anywhere! Even when the hurt seems too huge, and overwhelming, loving awareness can be strong enough to hold it with clarity and understanding. We learn how to meet suffering and tragedy without closing our hearts. We’re all together here.
This means, my tears fall with yours. Our tears fall with all the tears in Manchester.