In light of the recent tragedy at an elementary school in Connecticut, I feel there is a particular sentiment that must be brought into the equation, that hasn't been discussed too much thus far - compassion. Of course, I have heard many calls to have compassion for the families of those who have lost loved ones in this monstrous act, and they deserve more than compassion. They deserve kindness, patience, love, nurturing, access to counselling and coping methods for the rest of their lives, space to grieve, and many more things. No, what I'm talking about (and I'm not trying to become a social pariah, just to be complete in my offerring of compassion) is compassion for the young man who committed this act of senseless violence. Has anyone stopped to think about how much this kid was suffering to lead him to do what he did? Has anyone thought to look past their own reaction of hate, and try to find an answer in love? I am IN NO WAY condoning what he did, but what I am asking you to consider is why?
We often get so caught up in the world outside of ourselves, that we believe all of it is real. We buy into the fear and hate mongering of the media, and of social groups who also believe that everything they say is truth, and we tailspin into fear and hate ourselves. And it takes a great act of self-awareness to stop and look, and examine where that fear is coming from. That, maybe we just haven't spent enough time in relationship with the truth of this moment. We fail to understand that we create our reality and that how we participate with the world is our choice. That we are only victims of circumstance if we choose to see it that way. That having compassion begins with ourselves and extends to others. There is only one way to love others, and that is to love ourselves - those who can't find a way to love themselves have no well to draw upon, no source to access to grow love for others. It is a show; an act - to behave as if we love mankind so much, but act with self-depracation and self-loathing inwardly.
It seems to me that this kid in Connecticut was very cut off from the deep love within himself. It seems that maybe he didn't understand that this world flows together when we love each other and falls apart at the seams when we think that hate rules the day. He must not have felt the fabric of connection and compassion that underlies our interactions with each other. Maybe he didn't feel understood or loved by those around him or the world - even if they thought they showed him. And instead of looking inside to ponder "why do I see the world this way? can I see things differently?", he chose to turn his fear outward, unleashing a tirade of violence on innocents. Do I have to hate this boy of just 20 years, that he didn't understand how the world really works? Do I have to rant about gun control and other symptoms of a greater cancer that is invading our social and cultural body? Or can I have some compassion for his misunderstanding of how things are - his taking for reality what he just thought and felt himself?
I'm so sorry that no one told him that just because he felt like a victim, does not mean that that was absolute truth. That because he didn't feel the love around him, that there was none. That because he thought he had to show the world something in a gruesome and tragic way - that there were other ways. I'm so sorry that people lost their lives for this man's misunderstanding. That is a real tragedy. And those families that lost loved ones will have to grapple with this for the rest of their lives. I'm sure for many of them forgiveness is far in the future, if at all, and I probably seem ignorant and insensitive saying so, but I do hope they can come to it one day, and see that the man whom they hate was so lost and so deep in his own grief, that he was also his own victim that day. Maybe we can see him as someone who made a huge mistake in his searching for truth and love, but it was a mistake. Taking another's life can never be other than an outward show of an inward struggle and misunderstanding. Can we find compassion for this lost soul? And beyone that - can we begin to search ourselves more deeply and truthfully? To search for that well of deep love that connects us all - even those who act questionably on the outside - and teach others the way of love above the way of violence? Of peace and of quiet connection above the shouting and platitudes of self-rigteous politics? It does take a village - it takes a village to understand ourselves and teach the ones who don't understand with great compassion and patience, to trust in love. To shape our culture into one of love, not hate.
As a student of yoga, massage, meditation , poetry and other such introversions, I figured some of my inspirations might also touch the hearts of others. Read, ruminate, digest, create...always returning to this well of deep love inside to renew ourselves and rediscover what we are. Enjoy!