As the Charlottesville incident is still fresh in our minds,I have to ask myself, Why?
First, why is there such a visceral reaction in me to this senseless violence , and second, what is it in me that creates a space that allows this to happen?
To the first, I just can’t understand what it is in people that brings them to such a place of loss that they see no other option than to do harm to another child of God. Where is the thought process that says this is an acceptable solution? In this country especially, where the standard of living, even for the poor and disadvantaged is so much higher than so much of the world, there is still a disconnect so deep that people would rather listen to others opinions, rather than discern any truth for themselves. Even self-proclaimed Christians seem to abandon the teaching of the man around whom the religion was born to resort inane acts, so out of character with their savior. Instead, they engage in hate mongering, acts of violence, discrimination, and other base acts of horror, in the name of religion.
Today, this is stretched to a breaking point by an ignorant, misogynistic and arrogant @POTUS and a militant, violence spouting media, that seems to have lost perspective as to their job of delivering the facts and instead incites discontent. This is not limited to the so-called alt-right. All the unknowing media is contributing to this base rhetoric of hate. Their opinions become the opinions of the unread, and self-absorbed everywhere and their untruths become rallying cries.
To the “What;” what can we do to alleviate suffering and maybe encourage a new and more loving behavior going forward?
To this, I can only speak for me. I can look inward to what it is in me that creates this reaction in the first place. I can look at my own thoughts of bigotry and hatred, however benign or repressed they might be. They must be there for me to react in the ways I do. I need to not only look at them, but I need to be aware that they are obviously somewhere in me, and in my awareness of them, do a healing process to bring them into my consciousness, so I can begin to release these thoughts.
In the Christian faith, Jesus’ teaching bring us to recognize the God within us, which is always there to guide us toward Love. In the Muslim faith, there is the inner struggle, jihad, which is our guide to bring us into the Love of God. In Buddhism and Hinduism, there is the desire to achieve selflessness, which brings us into communion with the universe.
Whatever the teaching, they are always toward Peace, inner and other. As Thomas Merton says, without a balance of the spiritual and the human, we are incomplete, not a “Whole Person.”
What does this mean for me? It means I need to do the deeper interior work every day. I need to be in greater awareness of all the exterior things that “effect” me, and I need to remember the Spirit moves in, through and as every living thing, always. If I can remember and live these principles, then I can remain in tune with the infinite, and I tune with Love, which God is, and I AM.
“To forget the self and its pettiness is to actually show up, open and embracing, in the present moment’s play of form and formlessness.
~ Kathleen Dowling Singh, Grace in Aging
from Love, in Peace,
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