Paris. How can you explain something like that? How can you make sense of such tragedy and suffering? How can you, in any way, understand it or come to terms with it? And how can you keep yourself from falling into the bottomless pit of darkness and fear that such senseless acts of violence are designed to engender?
Is violence ever justified?
There are some who will try to justify the actions of terrorists – some people see them as martyrs and heroes for a cause. And some will even try to find ways to view them from a different perspective and will look for the admirable qualities in their actions (determination, courage, unwavering dedication to a cause, or whatever).
I personally refuse to go there. In my world view, there is no justification for the deliberate infliction of pain and suffering on other people. Not ever. If you have a problem with the way somebody else does things, you sit down and you talk it out. But you don’t ever go around hurting or killing people and claiming your actions were justified as a matter of religion and honour. There is no honour in such acts.
Why fighting it doesn’t work
Now, having said all of that, when such things happen in the world, it’s important to remember that what we focus on persists. By fighting against something, we make it stronger. By obsessing about it we add our energy to it and make it stronger. By giving in to fear and hatred, we make what we don’t want stronger.
Shifting your focus, shifting your power
Energy and focus are powerful things. If we want to see an end to terrorism and the fundamentalism that fuels it, we must shift our focus away from it and align ourselves with a better future. And we do that by turning our minds and our hearts to what we do want, instead. We focus ourselves on light and on love and on building stronger communities and stronger bonds between us all.
Look for the light
In focusing ourselves on the light, we are choosing to be the change. We look for what unites us, rather than what divides us; for our similarities rather than our differences; and for our common dreams and desires, rather than our mutually exclusive beliefs and aspirations.
We remember the wisdom of our greatest thought leaders and try to understand that, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama once said: “In the final analysis, the hope of every person is simply peace of mind.”
And we shift ourselves away from fixating on the horror of such situations, to honouring the greatest human qualities that they bring out in those who witness them – the selfless acts of bravery and compassion that shine forth in the willingness of people to rush in and offer assistance in any way that they can in the immediate aftermath and the chaos that ensues.
In doing so, we realize that there are still more kind and caring people in this world that not. We realize that there is still so much beauty and wonder, all around us. We realize that we will get through this because we always have; the light and the hope that lives within us is stronger than the darkness and fear could ever be.
photo credit: pixabay.com cc (modified by me)