Like everyone else, I was shocked, saddened and sickened by yesterday’s massacre in Newtown, CT. It is becoming so common place in our society, and not just our country alone. Like the some 100 daily auto deaths of Americans each day, we can get used to it I suppose, and hire armed guards to patrol and be on guard at all our schools, churches, and places where people gather. But could there be better ways too?
My initial reaction was that this is the way of this world. Wars and killings continue on day after day where civilians normally are the biggest casualty. Children all over the world are killed, raped, pushed into prostitution and dying from starvation. It can seem so overwhelming and impossible to ever stop. If we sat and watched and listened to it daily, we’d all “fall on our swords.” And of course, when modern technology brings certain ones right into our laps with media, it’s very overwhelming and our reactions are normal to just weep and mourn.
My first thought was to double again my efforts to be as kind and loving a person as possible. I cannot do much about the killings in Connecticut, Afghanistan, or anywhere but I can do something about the self hatred I tend to carry at times and project out onto people around me. I remember being in a discussion of the Course in Miracles when the Oklahoma bombing occurred, set off by a young angry man who grew up in a church near Pendleton, NY. As we shook our heads in shock and wonder, a minister there said, “Well I can’t do a lot about what happened there but I am concerned about the hatred that often comes into my own heart and mind toward people I wish to love.” I was shocked and never forgot that. If peace is to come to the world, it must begin with me and how I treat myself, my spouse, my children, my neighbors and those who represent me in life in politics.
How I treat others, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaches, comes from how I see myself. If I see myself as basically love, spirit and kindness, then this is how I reach out in love and forgiveness to others. It is as simple and as profoundly hard as that. I do try to see myself as scriptures say in all traditions, “Not of this world” but of another more eternal, lasting, and spirit one. As I see myself as being the Christ, the Atman, the God-Self rather than as a grasping, never-to-be-satisfied human being, I am able to live more with the detachment from mortality the Dalai Lama and all religions teach. I can live in this world but not of it. (John 17) In practice and support of other like striving folks, we can learn to let go and love everything as it is rather than by grasping, killing, and demanding things must be the way I would have them be. When I am in this Christ Self consciousness, completely content, feeling forgiveness for all the world’s violence, seeing this world as but a classroom toward my own and all our “eternal returns”, then peace can come. To me this is the essence of the story of Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammed and all great spiritual teachers. True, their teachings are quickly distorted and misused for gain and murder, but in the essence, to me the truth is all the same; we are not of this world, our identities are Children of God.
Have written this, my next suggestion is that we urge passage of laws to prohibit freely selling and distribution of firearms that are created only for military wars and special forces of police protection. How people can so easily purchased firearms without any back ground checks, especially firearms to kill masses of innocent people is beyond my understanding. When I grew up on a farm in a small rural community, we could buy guns freely. In my father’s childhood, the most popularly sold firearm was a single shot rifle that had to be reloaded for each shot. We used them to shoot at wood chucks and deer for eating. I was given my own at age 12, one that was very advanced because I could load 6 bullets at a time but each round had to be manually loaded before firing. In the shot gun collection, a “rapid fire gun” was called a “two barreled shotgun” because the shooter could get a quick second round off at the deer or moose he was pursuing!
So I call for a bit of what I assume could be “farmer’s common sense.” Ban from public use all rapid fire weaponry and with anything more than single shot pistols, background checks must be carried out. That seems like a starter for me.
Beyond that, the best I can promote as peace is by obtaining it in my own mind and life and living it the best I can in front others. So practice sitting meditation, running therapy of mind, gentleness in all ways, joining with others of like determination, and I think we can all get through our earth walk journeys a little better with less shocking, sad news casts that we too often must hear.