I’ve been knitting a lot – got nearly through the heel of my sock yesterday. The news of Virginia Tech is so shocking and so sad. For a bit, I wondered – hhmm, I can’t seem to focus on anything, nothing beyond what is in my hands.
I have to admit, that I don’t pay very much attention to the news. I listen to a few minutes of NPR in the morning, but once the kids are up, the news is gone. During the day, we are likely to watch a DVD (Harry Potter on a daily basis these days) – and if I do watch TV, I’m usually watching the SciFi channel – geek that I am [comeonnow – a full afternoon of Stargate or the XFiles -nothing better for knitting on a deadline.] So, as my friends and family know, unless it’s on Internet radio, or the SciFi Channel, I don’t know about it. The nightly news is always too upsetting, and I don’t want to go to bed knowing about horrible things.

So, it was a surprise to me on Monday evening when Bill came home and told me about the Virginia Tech shootings earlier that day. Then, yesterday, even if you weren’t watching it on TV, the heaviness of it was inescapable. I tuned in for a couple of minutes – and found tears welling up in my eyes. You could feel that things were off with the world – a taste almost. Of course, here in Colorado the comparisons to Columbine were inescapable – the most horrific school shooting until Monday, April 16, 2007. School Shooting – those words should NEVER be placed next to one another.

So my sock and I offered up knitting Tonglen, a Tibetan Buddhist practice described very elegantly by Pema Chodron as “. . . a method for overcoming fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of our heart. Primarily it is a method for awakening the compassion that is inherent in all of us, no matter how cruel or cold we might seem to be.” [Instructions for this practice are available on Pema’s website under the sidebar button “Teachings”.]
Photo of Ani Pema Chodron from her website: PemaChodron.org

This practice is also commonly described as the process of giving and receiving – in essence, you choose to offer yourself as a sort of living air filter – and in so doing, with your practice and prayers, you are able to give light and relief back to the world. With so much darkness, we need light. Please give the world whatever good thoughts you have to offer. As the famous quote from EZ goes – “Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.”

Hallelujah – that’s good knitting dharma – just keep knitting.