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9/11 Anniversary

Dr. Hari Kirin


I was home, a day off from doctoring, 20 years ago when 9/11 happened. As the news unfolded, I wondered if even more mass destruction was coming. Should I go get the kids out of school, would this be our last hours together?


There were so many New England lives lost. I felt the loss. War broke out. I felt the loss. To me, war especially hurts legions of unseen and unknown women and children. I felt the loss. Hate crimes happened. I felt the loss.


The arc of a human lifetime is full of emotional loss and gain, of spiritual growth and heartbreaking challenge. I cannot tell another person how to think and feel. I cannot know another’s personal loss and pain. What I can practice is this: to hold my experience and another’s experience in the balm of neutrality; in compassion.


To me, compassion is a welcome breeze on a sweltering day. It is cool water on a long march. Compassion is not wimpy. It can be strong as steel. Compassion is wiser than pity or empathy, which both keep varying weights of emotional attachment. Compassion rises above emotional burden. It heals the soul. It holds space. When we are held in compassion, we know it. Like water, or the weather, it is neutral and available to each of us should we choose to feel it, to practice it, strengthen it, and to share it.


On this day, I remember all the lives lost 20 years ago and onward, I also pray that we can honor these souls by fearless practice of compassion. May we never communicate or serve from a place of pain, but from the strength of the healing that emerged.

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