Notes on the Journey

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


It is so disheartening to hear of yet more terrorist attacks today in Brussels.  When will the hate stop?  When will the idea that terror and killing helps anything be realized to be false?  When will we be able to accept each other and our differences without acting out violently in opposition?

At this point in time, I think prejudice and fear are more based in economics than anything else.  How long do we think a nation or culture can be suppressed or marginalized or utilized without resentment and hatred building?  I don't condone violence for any reason.  I think there is always another way.  But, lack of education and economic opportunity breed desperation, and desperation often turns to violence.

I don't believe the terrorist acts we now witness in our world are based in religious differences.  I believe that they are born out of desperation and feelings of helplessness in an effort to gain some small amount of power; even if that miniscule moment of power comes at the sacrifice of their own or another's life.  I find it tragically sad that those who perpetrate these acts of terror feel their only solution lies in death and destruction.  And, that their only means of being seen lie in terror, suicide and murder.

It's a sad statement for all of us.  Because, these terrorists are us.  They are not separate from the rest of us.  They are lost and filled with rage and disconnected, but they are still part of the humanity of this planet.  We need to collectively find a way to communicate with these people and truly see them and hear them.  Our fear of them is such that we want nothing to do with them, which is the crux of the matter.  They need to be seen and heard and responded to in a neutral way.

I'm not saying that there don't need to be consequences for this type of acting out in violence.  There must be consequences.  But, in order to stop its continuance, we have to look to other ways than how we've been dealing with it up until now.  I don't think sane, balanced people plan and execute terrorist attacks, or commit murder.  Which means these people are soul sick and need attention and assistance.

Where does the level of helplessness and rage come from that would cause someone in a position of leadership to encourage his or her people to violence?  How did the disconnection and desperation develop within a particular culture that has now resulted in so much death and destruction?  I personally feel that these acts are an extreme cry to be seen and heard.  They are an extreme lashing out at a society that they feel has marginalized them and ignored them and denied them opportunity.

We can not overlook the terrorist acts that have happened, nor can we excuse those who've perpetrated them, but we can open our hearts in compassion for what has caused them to happen.  We can dig deep and find the love within ourselves that will allow us to see and hear those who have reached a place of such desperation.  Some of these people might be too entrenched in their positions to be reached, which is a tragedy of major proportion.  But, there are many behind them who are able to respond rationally and reconnect.  Yet, in order to reach into this culture of violence, we need to make a real effort to understand their position, acknowledge their point of view, and work toward a solution that creates peace.

Peace will require forgiveness on both sides of the equation.  If opening to each other, listening to each other, and forgiving each other are not possible, violence will continue.  But, we have to start somewhere.  We have to do what's necessary to bridge the gap.  We have to see and honor and understand each other and accept our differences.  We have to learn to appreciate our diversity instead of fearing it.  Just because any one of us believes a certain way, doesn't mean that we all have to agree.  We can agree to disagree.  We can keep working to reach a neutral stance.  But, the violence must be stopped.

This applies to those in any culture.  It applies to Donald Trump, and all of those he encourages to violence, as much as it does to those in any other culture we've become accustomed to blaming.  None of us are innocent.  This type of global problem, that is manifesting in all cultures, is a collective problem that we all need to take responsibility for and address in whatever way we can.

Why do people respond to a person who encourages violence and separation and prejudice and persecution?  Because that person encapsulates their fear, and they're acting out in reaction to it.  Because they are lost and don't know any other way to deal with their feelings of helplessness.  We are at a crossroads.  And, we need to make some important choices.  Do we go for fear, hate and separation?  Or, do we go for love, compassion and understanding?

The choice is ours in every day and every moment and every instance of interaction.  How do you want to create your world?  What is your vision?  Dig deep.  Think about it.    

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