In a time of terrorism and uncertainty, how can we feel truly safe? Calming the Fearful Mind offers key teachings designed to help heal the misunderstanding, fear, and hatred that divide us as individuals, groups, and nations. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh looks at the roots of terrorism and fear, and offers step-by-step instructions for calming the mind and looking deeply into our own misperceptions. His own generosity of spirit and love for all beings models a path out of uncertainty and towards peace and the understanding of how terrorism can be transformed and uprooted.
Terrorism lies in the hearts of human beings. We must uproot this terror from our hearts. To do this we do not need to destroy each other, either physically or psychologically. Instead, we must first identify the roots of terrorism so that they can be removed.
The roots of terrorism are misunderstanding, fear, anger, and hatred. They cannot be located by the military. Bombs and missiles cannot reach them, let alone destroy them. Only by calming our mind and looking deeply will we have the insight to identify the roots of terrorism. Only with the practice of compassion, deep listening, and restoring communication can terrorism be transformed and uprooted.
Our enemy is never another person. Our enemy is the wrong perceptions and suffering within him, within her. When a doctor sees a sick person, she tries to identify and remove the sickness in the patient. The role of a doctor is not to kill her patient, but to cure the illness within him. It is the same with a person who has suffered so much and who has made us suffer. The solution is not to kill him but to try to help him out of his suffering. This is the guidance we receive from the Buddha, Jesus, Moses and Muhammad; this is the wish of our spiritual teachers. It is the practice of understanding and love. Without understanding, you cannot love.