A Response To Violence And Tragedy

uscBy Will Davis (Guest Post)

Today, while walking, my thoughts were pulled toward the tragedies that occurred over the weekend. I saw something that caused this reflection. It was a quote by the His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, I saw posted, a quote that expressed my own feelings at first, “I am not ready to comment…” It was with another statement that has become quite popular by the Dalai Lama, “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.”

Tragedy, it would seem is a double edge sword. One side cuts and is painful and bleeds. The other side gives cause for introspection, self-reflection. On either side, there will be detractors and champions. Too often tragedy is used as a platform to further some other ideology. And, it would seem that it is becoming all too common place. It would seem that we humans immediately go into denial when something tragic happens and also pluck up the immortality card and hold it very tight. For the great majority, those things happen somewhere else, far away, not here or to me. We can feel momentary sympathy, suck our teeth and shake our heads, then go on about our daily lives, nor do I think that, that is untoward. It is simply human nature.

This is a very good time and situation to engage in and practice compassion and empathy, for the victims, their families and friends. However, it is also a good time to practice compassion and empathy for the one(s) committing these tragedies. Without fail they were tortured souls. Perhaps it is a very good time to feel, not practice, compassion and empathy for our whole society. None of the perpetrators were born killers. Something happened along the way that created that. Maybe an abusive home situation, bullying at school and other places leading to a very compromised self-image. So, perhaps society, as a whole, has a shared responsibility.

I am a parent and a grandparent. What did and am I teaching and displaying for my children and grandchildren? Have I engaged in emotional sabotage? Was my brand of discipline that which tore down self-esteem? Did I discipline out of anger or love? Was disciplining for my benefit or theirs? Did I try to be fair and equitable? I cannot answer those questions objectively, but they can.

I think that if we are to emerge as a species, a society of truly advanced beings, then we must change the way we see ourselves in relation to our greater environment to a more positive view. Then, we must begin to act the way we want our world to be. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see.” I think tragedies will always happen, but maybe they can be things that are not perpetrated by a sense of violence. An earthquake is a tragedy but it is not malevolent. We, as human beings are in control of how we behave. Bad behavior is never a good excuse for much of anything. Bad behavior is a personal choice, not one forced on us. A big part of it comes down to taking personal responsibility for one’s direction, actions, and behavior. So, come and walk with me for a while and lets think about this and maybe, together we can find ways to improve on our own behaviors. Maybe you will help me with mine. I love you.

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