I am so sad about the current events in the world where people – families – are fleeing their homes, for their lives. To add to their trauma, their enemies are trying to undermine the places they are fleeing to. Places like Paris, France, where good people take in refugees, then terrorists pretend they are refugees and blow stuff up – shoot and kill people.
How insane is this?! What can I do?
Plenty. I remind myself that I can do plenty. I can overcome this weakness in my own thoughts and actions. I can practice non-retaliation.
France bombed targets in Syria to retaliate – and to protect their own people. I never know what to believe in the news “out there”. There is one thing that is clear: innocent people – even small children – are being harmed or killed. They are doing nothing but living or trying to live.
There are two very powerful things I can do to counter this terrorism. (Terrorism is not just those guys in masks shooting people- it’s our reactions to that too- watching the news, getting angry, spreading that fear to those we interact with…)
1. I can practice focusing on love, not fear.
2. Watch my own urges to retaliate and choose love and forgiveness instead.
This morning I was driving in pounding rain on the highway before sunrise. I couldn’t see very well, so I was driving more slowly and giving the car in front of me lots of extra room – while the car behind me tailed me closely. When the bumper buddy passed me, then merged in front of me at an unsafe distance, (for the driving conditions) I had this strong urge to flash my lights at him or her. Then I remembered: the practice.
Don’t get angry, get peaceful.
Later I almost forgot about writing about this, but then I had several more opportunities to practice. You see, when it’s raining, many people drive more cautiously so those who are not considerate and safe drivers stand out even more.
To the person who ran the merge light: I forgive you. To the truck driver who squeezed in at the last second- to pass me up while merging onto the road. I forgive you. To the driver of the big paper shredding truck who honked at the pedestrian crossing the road in the pouring rain: I forgive you.
I would have been angry and I felt it rising up. But I thought of my practice and breathed deep, exhaled and reminded myself of the children who have had to flee their homes, the people who were shot in the night club. So bad drivers are a small problem to practice with in comparison.
When we take on this practice, we are strengthening our self control – we are allowing our true Self to guide our mind, emotions, actions. This is real power.
May all beings be happy and free. And drive safely you all!