People who were in and around New York on September 11, 2001–and I’m sure it happened in Washington, DC, as well–remember the spirit of compassion and kindness and care that came about in their bewilderment, their wonderment, and fear. Seldom does the phrase, “We’re a family” feel authentic when used about organizations or companies or almost any group other than a family. But many people seemed to feel, in the weeks after the disaster, a link with others–even, and perhaps especially with complete strangers–that might well be described as a family sort of feeling.
Aldous Huxley remarks in The Perennial Philosophy that a saint is one who knows that every moment of our life is a moment of crisis. A very spiritually evolved person “is able to be aware continuously of the divine Ground of their own and all other beings. . .and to meet all, even the most trivial circumstances of daily living, without malice, greed, self-assertion or voluntary ignorance, but consistently with love and understanding.”
In the crisis of that September, some taste of this attitude towards life and other people was present. To think that the outer reaches of both the worst & the best of human potential can exist in such proximity–and that the best sits waiting, available.