After Paris attacks: the heart of the matter

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After Paris attacks: the heart of the matter

Deep sadness here in Paris, and we are shocked and shaken, too, by the horror of last night’s attacks in our beloved city. My heart breaks and breaks for the suffering of the victims and their executioners, and for all of us in this fragile world spinning with greed, anger and ignorance.

For now, it seems that all my family and friends and Wild Flower members are safe. At the same time, as we are all one, we are bleeding with all those who bleed. Last night we were leaving our Friday sitting practice when the first attack was happening only a few streets away. We heard and saw nothing, but today I feel so very close to those people who did see the carnage and hear the violence. May they find peace, one way or another.

Wherever you are, may you listen to and look at the people you meet, both friends and strangers, with an open heart today of all days.

By | 2015-11-14T13:01:45+00:00 novembre 14th, 2015|Textes|15 Comments

About the Author:

Enseignante Zen et poète, Sensei Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell est née et a grandi à Minneapolis, aux Etats-Unis. Arrivée en France en 1981 pour étudier la littérature et l’histoire, elle y est restée, s’installant à Paris, où elle élève ses deux enfants et gagne sa vie en tant que journaliste. The Zen teacher and poet Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell Sensei was born and raised in Minneapolis, but came to France in 1981 to study literature and history and has lived in Paris ever since, raising her two children and making a living as a journalist.


  1. Joa 16 novembre 2015 at 12 h 11 min - Reply

    It’s Monday morning now. As I sit at my desk, wondering what can be said and pondering about what to think after these tragic events of this week-end that took place in Paris down the road where I live, Bob Dylan’s words, as often, come to my mind: « how many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand ? Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly before they’re forever banned? The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind.”
    An apparently endless stream of suffering and anger continues to spread blood on our streets and tears in our hearts.
    Trying to think the unthinkable, it seems reasonable that we should stand united, we should let our feelings of solidarity, fraternity, love, despair, sadness towards the victims and their families shine. We, the innocent people. We, who believe in freedom. We, who believe in a world where men and women are equal in rights. We, who want to be able to go to a concert, to sit at a café, to rejoice, to dance, to play, to drink, to laugh, to have sex, to travel, to buy.
    They don’t want us to do all that. They dislike freedom. They worship death. They are monsters. They are criminals. They are not humans.
    Then, political scientists, intellectuals, an army of knowledgeable and respectable people come forward to tell us how we created this very monster. How the invasion of Irak by the Bush administration, the invasion of Libya by Sarkozy, the selling of weapons to both sides and to various regimes over decades, the geostrategic games in the middle East since at least fifty years, the colonial times, and so on, led us where we are.
    We. All of us. Us, the people of this planet. An interconnected net of human beings.
    What is the ground we stand on? What to do we do next? How do we stop this apparent endless cycle of violence? What is the responsibility of each one of us in the course of these events?
    A story comes to my mind. The Zen teacher Bernie Glassman was one day commenting on the precept “I vow to refrain from killing”. One person in the assembly stood up and say : “since I’m a vegetarian, I don’t feel concerned about this precept”. “Look closer” he responded. If we look closer – and sometimes it means take a step back and get the big picture – some new perspectives arise. And our certainties might be shaken. Who is “we”? Who I am? What are my unshakable truths I am holding on?
    The answers are blowin’ in the wind.

  2. Cristina Mestre 16 novembre 2015 at 11 h 37 min - Reply

    Paris city of light!
    I find it difficult to express in words my feelings when I see so much suffering. I want to send a big, warm hug, from the bottom of my heart for all of you.
    I asked the participants of the workshop « The Art of Zen Meditation » here in Esposende to do a minute of silence.
    Thank you Amy for this memorial where we can express, silence and words.
    I am relieved that all of you are well.
    With love,

  3. Cláudia 15 novembre 2015 at 23 h 16 min - Reply

    I was relieved to know that wildflower friends in Paris were well, and very chocked and sad for what happened last friday.
    I heard someone on the news saying how Paris is a city where people love life, and freedom, and that’s how I always remember Paris. To see the images of the people coming again to the streets today, to the cafe terraces, despite the horror and all the fear, is inspiring…
    I’m thinking about you and sending you my love.

  4. Tiago 15 novembre 2015 at 19 h 08 min - Reply

    Still in chock and deeply saddened by last days’ events but gladly relieved to learn all sangha members and their families are alright and unharmed. My heart aches for all those who suffer and I feel impotent facing all of this. It sheds a different light onto everything we consider to be « safe » or « difficult » in life – ground-shaking.
    Sending you all my love.

  5. ceu 15 novembre 2015 at 10 h 03 min - Reply

    Avant lire ce qui Amy as ecrit aprés ( )

    j’ai pensé de lire qu’est-ce que elle as écrit avant, ( ) …quand elle as mangé de la pasta et shrimps…..

     » It’s a different story if I see every single one of the 7 billion people/planets as being me/mine. I’m quite sure there would be far less suffering in the world »

    C’est ça…. good exercise try to think about what was in Paris, fryday night


  6. Peter Bruza 15 novembre 2015 at 2 h 30 min - Reply

    The sun shines down here today, down under, on the the other side of the world. Summer is in the air. May its warmth somehow find its way over there to help assuage the trauma and pain…

  7. Tomas 15 novembre 2015 at 0 h 35 min - Reply

    I’m relieved to hear all brothers and sisters wild flowers in Paris are unhurt, although we are all hurt in our hearts with this sad and dreadful violence…I’m no longer living in Paris (since April) but my last address was at rue Fontaine au Roi: I was living 20meters from where one of the shootings took place, a small Greek pizzeria I used to go from time to time. I could recognize the nearby terrace of the cafe Phare du Canal in the news…I know very well all the other places where the attacks occurred… my first apartment when I arrived in Paris in 2007 was by rue de Charonne, not too far away from another of the shooting places….all in the same quartier, the free-spirit 11eme where I’ve felt so free and happy during the years
    I lived there….strangely I feel a urge to travel back to Paris, go back to the 11eme, and somehow join the grieving….and support our beautiful Paris somehow…
    Tonight, hundreds of miles away, in the mountains near Geneva, I light a candle and dedicate the sitting to Paris and to all the wild flowers there, both the ones members of the sangha, and everyone else

  8. Beginners Mind 14 novembre 2015 at 23 h 31 min - Reply

    My daughter yesterday was asking: Dad what was that? I explained, there were men motivated mainly by ignorance that breeds into intolerance and hatred against other people.

    Thinking further on ignorance we can feel compassion for those attackers as they are also victims of the same ignorance that was brought upon them over the years through racism, prejudice and discrimination.

    May we all be free and help free the others from greed anger and ignorance.

  9. zoe 14 novembre 2015 at 22 h 29 min - Reply

    The dark veil of sadness covers my being and all that i see around. Soul searching time through still more questions directed toward the gut. A friend called from the U.S. to make sure we’re all fine–like the others who’ve been calling or sending messages since late last night. He mentioned the similarity of our experience with that of 9/11 for them. True. He also said that the shock is horrible. True again. Except that when i look straight in, i see sadness as the dominant emotion.– on multi layers. All through my morning chores, and the afternoon walk in the woods i faced nothing but this sadness. For all, but especially for the raw reality that we are leaving a mucked up society for the next generation– our children.
    How are they supposed to trust? How could they lean back and watch the flow of life without a direct and naked threat to their existence? I feel responsible and alone.
    And the pragmatic side in me has been thinking of ways to make the governments all around the world to shift their attention to the radical questions that need to be addressed. Why invest so much capital and energy on wars and divisions between nations? Why encourage the separation between peoples? What is the relation between the act of separation, even in the private corners of one’s mind, and violence?
    In my experience, the second i separate and divide, i feel the surge of aggression in my trunk–literally.
    The candles are burning on the windowsills right along the one in the heart for the reality of this poisonous ignorance that drives some to violence. And the others to declare war on more fronts yet. Sad indeed, and right now there’s only the choice of embracing it.

  10. Ethel 14 novembre 2015 at 21 h 32 min - Reply

    How many pockets guards your hands when strained hide the punch ? What color gag that calls for tolerance with all ignorant boiling hatred? In which the filter coas indifferent , complicit in cruelty ? Give me the tone , the color , the sound of the man who is lost in mediocrity. It is possible to silence and I can hear the heart .

  11. Christine 14 novembre 2015 at 19 h 22 min - Reply

    A text message is circulating, asking to light a candle for the victims, dead or hurt, and their families and put it in the window to show that our « solidarité française » is stronger than violence. Why only french solidarity ? There were surely not only french victims nor is Paris a « single cultural » city. Nevertheless, I lit a candle because I feel deeply sad for all those who were touched directly by the terror attacks. I am also sad for the fear and chaos all this is producing and I try to honor my own vulnerability and that of each of the other « human planet » circulating in our beloved one-inhabitant world.
    My little two year old is singing loudly « petit escargot » while playing with his truck on the floor…
    Be all safe and well and light a candle wherever you are.

  12. Evi 14 novembre 2015 at 17 h 49 min - Reply

    My heart hurts like all week last week in Auschwitz. It feels like a new stage of madness that foud its way in some human hearts and minds. Its hard to bear witness to so much suffering and yet, this is what we are practicing for to saty with instead of falling into reactions that would nourish this shadow. May we be capable to open for this griefe and suffering, may we be able to bear witness to all its facetts and may an action arise that is authentic, upright and kind.
    I’m glad you are aroud and we can relate. I griefe with those who lost someone or got traumatized by this horror. I pray for those in power to be able to bear witness with us and act wisely.

  13. margarida 14 novembre 2015 at 17 h 06 min - Reply

    Je vous embrasse avec amour. mon cœur est avec vous.

  14. Sophie 14 novembre 2015 at 16 h 20 min - Reply

    …since 11.30 last night, I receive messages from friends from France (Paris and other places), Canada, USA, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain:
    « how are you? how are your beloved? how is Paris? how is France?
    how is humanity? »
    How wonderful to be linked and loved and one.

    Last night, Amy talked about the precepts…
    … »first, I vow to refrain from killing »…
    …and I go to this one:… »sixth, I vow to refrain from talking about other errors or faults »

    (What) can we do?
    Commit in collective organisations (humain, politic…)
    I vow to be attentive in myself and around me (the way I am with others) to my parts of violence, and to my parts of love…
    I vow to be a water drop, a colibri, a light, with other water drops, colibris, and lights, with you all…

  15. Madalena Machado 14 novembre 2015 at 13 h 55 min - Reply

    Very sad, deeply sorry and with my heart broken, with everything that happened yesterday night in Paris, I just want to say, that we think in all of you, we are nearby you, in these terrible moments, praying for all those who have lost their beloved ones!

    In our today’s yoga class with Margarida, we sang a mantra in their honour asking for peace..

    May they rest in peace and may all France stand up together, against this « free violence », not with revenge feelings but with the strong power of love..´


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