From a Buddhist Loving Kindness tradition:
In this time of turmoil,
May our thoughts be clear,
May our feelings be compassionate,
May our needs be fulfilled,
and May we create peace.
A Prayer in the Aftermath of Tragedy
The Rev. Dr. Lucy Hitchcock Seck,
Unitarian Universalist tradition
Spirit of Life and of Loving Kindness,
we beckon your return to our hearts and minds
in the ebb tide of this earth-shaking human tragedy.
Help us to be consoled and comforted by the ever-renewing streams
of pathos and compassion pouring from our now-global family;
Help us to be continually re-inspired by the wellsprings
of creativity and courage shown by public servants and private citizens
to find our own path of service in the restoration of a shattered America
and its ideals of democracy and freedom for the world.
May the water of our tears and the dry anger of our pain wash and sear
Any thoughts of hatred and revenge from our consciousness and
supplant them with a conjoined dedication to create a Culture of Mutual Understanding.
May we search our souls and the soul of the nations we call home
for any acts or omissions of complicity in the debilitating poverty and imbalance
in wealth, power and resources which perpetuate anguish and propel violence
in pursuit of retribution and the redistribution of that wealth.
Let us pray and write and protest to our leaders that any further acts of violence,
even inadvertently involving one innocent fellow world citizen, are to be decried
and prevented by a careful and long consideration of what responses will bring
to account the perpetrators, assure great safety from terrorist acts and
build toward a worldwide Culture of Peace, Justice and Compassion for All.
Let us make channels for the streams of love to nourish the children of
peoples of all faiths, ethnic identities, and political persuasion. Only a
Universal Love, graciously received and bestowed onward to friend and
stranger alike by our now trembling hands,
will save and replenish our Earth. Amen.
From the Christian tradition,
the following prayer is traditionally attributed to St. Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Rev. Jim Mulligan
From the Islamic tradition
If a man gives up quarreling when he realizes he's in the wrong, a house will be built for him in Paradise.
But if a man gives up a conflict even though he is in the right, a house will be built for him in the loftiest niche of Paradise.
—Saying of the Prophet Muhammad
Please Call Me by My True Names
By Thich Nhat Hanh
Don't say that I will depart tomorrow--even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: every second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring branch, to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings, learning to sing in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope. The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive.
I am a mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river. And I am the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.
I am a frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond. And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks. And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate. And I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hinds. And I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to my people dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.
My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth. My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up and the door of my heart could be left open, the door of compassion.
I am there
James Dillet Freeman, Unity Church
Do you need me?
I am there.
You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.
You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.
You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in you hands.
I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.
I am at work, though you do not recognize My works.
I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.
Only in the absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know
Me as I am, and then but as a feeling and a faith.
Yet I am there. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.
When you need Me, I am there.
Even if you deny Me, I am there.
Even when you feel most alone, I am there.
Even in your fears, I am there.
Even in your pain, I am there.
I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.
I am in you and you are in Me.
Only in you mind can you feel separate from Me.
For only in you mind are the mists of "yours" and "mine". Yet only with your mind can
you know Me and experience me.
Empty your heart of empty fears.
When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.
You of yourself can do nothing but I can do all.
And I am in all. Though you may not see the good, good is there,
For I am there.
I am there because I have to be, because I am.
Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of Me does the world take form, only because of Me does the world go forward.
I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the growth of living cells are founded.
I am the love that is the law's fulfilling. I am assurance. I am peace. I am the law that you can live by. I am the love that you can cling to. I am your assurance. I am your peace. I am one with you.
Though you fail to find Me, I do not fail you.
Though your faith in Me in unsure, My faith in you never waivers,
Because I know you, because I love you.
Beloved, I am there.
A copy of "I am there" is now on the moon, carried there on Apollo XV by Astronaut James B. Irwin and left on the moon for future space explorers.
Martin Luther King, "Where do we go from here?"
Through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder.
Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can't establish truth.
Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate.
Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that....
Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. ·August 1967
In the face of terrible news beyond control, beyond prevention, beyond healing, those who are able to find the means to deny tend to cope best. Such denial is not only permissible, it may be the only means of sanity. But in the face of lesser problems, one should hope, but protectively and rationally. Find ways to view even the most stressful of situations as holding the promise of improvement but do not deny the possibility that things will not improve.
"In the face of strong winds, let me be a blade of grass.
In the face of strong walls, let me be a gale of wind."
from Robert Sapolsky, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, Freeman, NY:1998