Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


The New Boston Massacre: Marathon Bombing

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I went to college in Boston; I did my internship in Boston and I lived there in between. I’ve watched the finish line of the marathon at the place where the bombs exploded. This event has riveted the attention of Americans and the rest of the world as evidenced by the amount of news coverage.

I was listening to the BBC yesterday morning and was struck by the juxtaposition of the Boston story with the report of an earthquake in Iran where forty people were killed. This event did not receive special news coverage. I wonder why? There are several reasons for this.

1). That news involves others (and reviled others at that)

2). An earthquake as an “act of god” fits into a different category. It is an unfortunate event but we expect that they will occur. Earthquakes are not preventable.

3). The bombing is an act of terror and is therefore preventable. It “shouldn’t happen.”

We are not just reacting to the loss of limb and life, we are reacting to the perceived injustice of the event. The violation of of it. If the earth reaches up and harms us it is one thing; if a human-made bomb does the same thing, it is another.

It reminds me of the teaching story of the rowboat. Imagine you are relaxing in a rowboat on a lake. An empty, adrift rowboat collides into your boat disturbing your repose. Now imagine the boat is not empty but has someone in it. Our emotions are likely to be different. Surprise in the first scenario, indignation in the second.

The marathon bombing provokes indignation. This shouldn’t happen and yet it did.

The new Boston massacre deserves all the special news coverage that it is receiving. As I commented on Newtown shooting, there are tragedies everyday somewhere in the world. Many of these don’t get a voice or not a prolonged strong voice.

This event helps to wake us up out of apathy and a false sense of safety. It mobilizes heroic action and compassion. Can we be awake to our lives without such tragedies?



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Anya

    thanks Arnie; I’m with you all the way on this teaching. We send drones; others build explosives.

    Hatred will never cease by hatred. Hatred will only cease by love. This is an eternal law.

    I am reading your blog to support the studio :) Anya

Previous Posts

Transitions, Attachments, and Hope
It's been a long winter here in Northern Vermont and elsewhere around the country. The mountain is still frozen and buried in snow. In the valley, the long buried grass, brown and tired, is emerging from under the receding glacier, yet my yard is still buried in snow. The calendar reads April but

posted 3:02:56pm Apr. 07, 2014 | read full post »

A Special Opportunity for Opening Your Heart in Relationship with Tara Brach
I'd like to let you know about a special opportunity with my charma friend Tara Brach who is one of the more authentic and beloved mindfulness teachers. She is author of the bestsellers Radical Acceptance and more recently, True Refuge. Please read about this special program below. It’s often

posted 8:12:05pm Mar. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Equanimity in the Face of Adversity, Controversy, and Memory
The Dalai Lama recently visited with President Obama. Not such an unusual event since they have visited before, but the Chinese Government used this as an opportunity to complain, threaten, and

posted 7:24:11pm Mar. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Sit Still
If you listen carefully to my meditation instructions, you might detect a contradiction. On the one hand, I de-emphasize the posture because I don't want people to get deterred by the physical difficulties of sitting. On the other hand, I encourage everyone to sit still and to resist the reflexive t

posted 7:48:21am Feb. 11, 2014 | read full post »

P is for Perfectionism; M is for Mindfulness
The February Kripalu Compass Newsletter featured an article I wrote on perfectionism and mindfulness. You can read it here. "My basement was a disaster for months, a dumping ground for junk: empty boxes, retired appliances and gadgets, books, old LPs, outdoor gear. Each time I walked through the cl

posted 7:34:32pm Feb. 03, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.