Today marks the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York and Pennsylvania. I imagine there will be all sorts of news reports and ceremonies here and there. It is very strange how we acknowledge historical events that have had a powerful impact on culture and psyche. On the one hand the remembrance may help us to integrate the experience into now. On the other hand, we may revise our perception of the event to fit our ever-changing personal politics and ideologies.
All history is actually revisionist history. How we remember or reframe a past event changes with the passage of time. I suppose this is just what humans do. It is helpful if it allows us to integrate our experience into a more inclusive awareness of all suffering—motivating us to be better human beings. It is unhelpful if it breeds more anger, hatred, and divisiveness.
I would opt for the helpful alternative. Imagine if all the memories floating about in our storehouse consciousness (alaya) were imbued with compassion. Then all our revising would be done under this influence. This is one reason bodhicitta is so important. If we practice remembering the natural heart/mind of loving kindness in every moment, we will revise our history with love and understanding.
So it is important to notice our remembering. Do we replay the event and harbor the same emotions and resentments or do we watch the memory float on a sea of compassion and use it become a wiser human. It is a good practice to let memories become beacons of dawning wisdom, calling us home to our natural wish for all beings to be happy and free from suffering.