It seems that everywhere I look online, there is a running discourse about the shooting in Connecticut. The outrage is real, widespread and very deeply felt. This bodes well for change.
As I was thinking on this, though, the famous quote from Gandhi about being the change we want to see came to mind. It reminds me that you can’t legislate morality. That doesn’t mean the laws shouldn’t change. It means that the level of behavioral change impacted by laws and regulations doesn’t solve the underlying problem. Another way of stating it is that we may be able to contain some of the behavior, but the impetus to violent reactions remains.
That problem is the violence in our own hearts and souls. As long as we react with violent thoughts, even if we control them, the seed of violence will remain with us as a people and as a culture. We each have varying levels of success at controlling it, but its very existence raises the question of how do we truly heal a society that is based on violent thought? I don’t have answers, but I do have questions and that is perhaps a valid starting point.
I wonder if this is related to the competition we each have nurtured in our hearts since we were small? We have this poverty / paucity mindset that insists that everything, but EVERYTHING, is in limited supply. If I have it then you can’t have it. If you have it, then I can’t. This mindset encourages people to defend what little they have from someone who might deprive them of it, or to attempt to take from someone that which they think they need to survive.
The more I think on this, the more I believe that, at a very deep level, the trigger for violent thoughts or behavior seems to be rooted in the idea that the other has something that I need to survive or even just to be happy. When I am content in this moment, not worrying about what I don’t have, I can feel no urge to become aggressive. When the present moment is sufficient for me, there is nothing I need to take from another.
What if people woke up to the moment of power, that is to say this very moment? I often hear talk of awakening in vague and idealistic terms, but what would actually happen? How would things change if people suddenly started living in the now, owning their own baggage, and making decisions based on just that? I am not talking utopia, but reality. What would change? I am thinking that the scope would be so large, we can’t even imagine it in its entirety.