"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Never in this world is hatred quenched by hatred. By love alone is it quenched; this is an eternal law." --Buddha from the Dhammapada
In a world that is always telling us to do more, in less time, with a new gadget that we don't know how to use, it has often been difficult for me to find the space to understand the laws of love and hate that govern acts of violence and acts of benevolence.
Last year, on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a few friends and I decided to meditate in the middle of the "Anti-Mosque" vs. "Pro-Community Center" rallies that were being held near ground zero in Manhattan. We went there simply to bear witness, to understand the thoughts and emotions that were coming up in ourselves around the issue, and to feel with our hearts the anger, frustration and sadness being expressed by those in the rallying camps.
This year, on the 10th anniversary, we've invited several contemplative communities of various spiritual backgrounds to join together on the Parade Grounds at Governor's Island to spend the day practicing lovingkindness meditation as a community.
Lovingkindness (Metta in Sanskrit, Chesed in Hebrew) meditation is a practice that is intended to help the practitioner cultivate a personal understanding of the relationship between love and hate. In a culture where fear and anger are primary motivating factors for action, an understanding of love is one of the best tools we have to fight against terrorism and injustice.
The event this Sunday is being produced by The Interdependence Project and the Shambhala Meditation Center of NYC. Participating communities and sponsors include the Jewish Meditation Center of Brooklyn, The Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Won Buddhism of Manhattan, the Buddhist Council of New York, the Village Zendo and Evolver.
Persons of all faiths are invited to attend.