After watching live the two towers of the World Trade Center come down — the blessing and the curse of modern technology and communications — and spending a very sleepless night filling my head with the horrific images of the aftermath, I slipped away to the otherworldliness of a quiet Zen temple in Hyogo Prefecture.

Taking advantage of a long-awaited two days off in a row, I had made reservations to eat shojin vegetarian temple cuisine at Kogen-ji. As I climbed to the top of several hundred moss-covered stone steps, the 350-year-old main temple soon came into view. The considerate, reassuring words of the head monk and the quiet contemplation of course after course of delicately precise temple food served in bright-red bowls helped to calm the storm of emotions that had been brewing in my mind. I was reminded that despite the cruelties that humans heap upon one another, we can still overcome.

The pictures on my TV screen two days later when I returned from my mountain retreat — images of rescue workers and volunteers working tirelessly around the clock — proved that we as a people cannot be hijacked spiritually, and while it may take time to heal, and although some wounds cannot be easily patched, there is relief for those who trust in the human spirit. The intersection of food and the soul and the comfort it brings again reminded me of the power of what we put into our mouths three times a day, seven days a week.