Recently I connected with a lovely lady I will call Beth, who is co-chair, heading a project to save the beautiful land around Deer Park from being developed. Deer Park is a monastery at the top of a mountain near San Diego which was founded by Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist Master, Mindfulness Teacher and Peace Activist.
Our family travels to Deer Park for meditation and retreats, like the thousands who come every year from around the world.
Last weekend Walter and I went there, and I was reminded of the mission I have joined to help Beth and others preserve the land of refuge for so many people.
Through a recent email from Beth, she shared with me that U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in Arizona, is her personal friend. I could feel her sadness in her email.
When awful things happen, it's only natural to wonder why? Our minds search for answers, and when answers don't come that satisfy us, often we turn to anger and want to blame any and every person. No doubt, you have heard the blame slung around by the Republicans and Democrats sounding off and pointing the fingers over the shooting.
These types of tragic events lead us to imagine and construct a whole story in our heads of why this has happened. We all go through our personal tragedies that send our minds spinning with fear.
Ruminating on "why" is a dangerous, slippery slope which adds kindle to the fire. First of all, we often don't know right away why something tragic has happened. Secondly, when we don't have the truth, we imagine stories in our heads which are often far worse than the reality. We obsess about the situation to the point we become furious or very sad.
Sadness is anger turned inward, because we can't do something about a situation.
When we ruminate over a "wrong" we help collect more of the same type of negative energy. Instead we must lift ourselves out of the cesspool of anger and blame, to be the light for ourselves and others.
For example, recently in the news, a family lost their home just before Xmas, but they turned the incident around to see how they could help others. So the homeless family when interviewed, said they didn't spend time asking, "Why?" or "Why Me?" Instead they served Xmas dinner to help other homeless people at a shelter.
How do we find peace over these unspeakable tragic acts?
Nothing has ever been resolved by anger or sadness. We must go inside and just be with our feelings. We must become the parent to those feelings, by first acknowledging that the hurt is there, then comfort those feelings. Thich Nhat Hanh says to "love them." Love your feelings the same way a parent would love a child who is crying.
Inside of us is a small child crying and hurt. It's important that we nurture that child.
When we send our feelings love, we are turning away from our limited mind. The mind doesn't know. Many of us are stuck asking it, "Why?" or "Why Me?"
Our webmaster Randy, who has had four heart attacks, counsels other heart attack patients. He says "I can't stand it when people feel sorry for themselves and keep asking, 'Why Me?' I say, Why not you? Instead, find the strength to just go on."
When we are mindful, and stop torturing the mind, and letting the mind torture us asking 'Why?' , the answers come out of our silence from a deep place of wisdom. So if you are hurt, afraid and anxious, find immediate comfort and peace over the situation by going inside. Locate in your body where you feel the hurt and fear. Cradle it with your loving awareness, and watch it dissolve.
Dropping the stories you concoct in your head and being with your feelings in silence, allows your higher, intuitive self to take over. You will not only find the answers to any situation, but you will also find the right path to proceed in life with peace and wisdom.
Blessings, love and light to the Arizona victims and their families. May you find inner peace, healing and love.
Watch this incredibly beautiful video by David Ault: