When Will We Stop Attacking Each Other?
Yet again. We’re horrified, anguished. We scream, rant and rave. How can this be happening – yet again? A lone gunman shot up a church. The cries ring out.
This must stop. We blame the lack of God in our lives, the shooter’s drug use, his being radicalized by an anti-(fill in the blank) group, the system. We demand stricter gun laws. When are we going to take personal responsibility for our own behavior? What you say, you’d never shoot up a church or run down a group of people with your vehicle? Of course you wouldn’t. But what about your neighbor who mows his lawn early on a weekend morning? Are you ready to throttle him? Or how about the time someone cut you off on the highway? Did you feel entitled to shout obscenities at the driver?
While our behavior might not rise to the level of the violence we’ve seen in Texas, New York, Connecticut, Florida, Las Vegas, et. al., we can be violent people. Instead of putting all our energy into hating this person or that, into being angry at this situation or that, why not put our energy into loving kindness?
Sure it’s not always easy to love thy neighbor; but if I don’t love mine, he or she may not love me and then we have the opening for the seeds of distrust and fear to grow and flourish. As long as we are sending out violent angry thoughts to another, we are going to get violent angry thoughts back. Until we recognize that everyone is part of our community, not just the people who look like us or think like us or have the same religious or political affiliation, we are going to continue to alienate ourselves from one another, allowing for the Texases and the New Yorks and the Connecticuts to continue.
While not all of us act on our angry violent thoughts, they are still out there polluting the environment, leaving an opening for one of us to do so. And then we will again scream, rant and rave. If only we’d have sent loving kindness to all beings instead.
Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu said, “Someone must risk returning injury with kindness, or hostility will never turn to goodwill.”
Ginnie R. Maurer