As I sat down to write something this week I really wondered where to begin. When I tell people I rarely watch the news on TV, I'm sometimes asked how I know what's going on in the world? I have two responses to that:
Why do I have to know about everything being reported? And,
Just because I don't see it on CNN (Constantly Negative News), it doesn't mean I won't hear about the big stuff and if I hear it a few hours later than everyone else, so be it.
However, last week it was impossible to avoid hearing all the tragic news, especially with so many events happening, one after the other. I'll share my thoughts and reactions. Maybe some of them are similar to yours.
At first I kept wanting to hear more about the insanity in Nice, France. Maybe it's because I just got back from Europe and even though I wasn't in that specific area, I've been there before. My attention was soon diverted to events in the US -- young men being killed by cops and policemen being ambushed. Then, I noticed that I was feeling really upset and powerless. It could have been a short trip to believing that this is ALL that happens in the world. At the same time, I couldn't just ignore it or pretend it wasn't happening.
This is when I am especially grateful to have a meditation practice. Even though it might not seem like anything is "happening" when I sit each morning, as soon as I'm in a situation where I feel like the heart of my life is skipping some beats, I know I have the ability to tune out the world, temporarily, and find inner comfort.
As I get still, I start filling up with as much loving kindness as I can. My initial response might have been anger and even hatred and thoughts of retaliation, but then I remember
Ghandi once said, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind". I can't "fix" it or undo it, but I can send as much love as possible to everyone near me, around me, and as far out into the Universe as it will go. This is often not easy to do, but it has become less challenging as I develop my meditation practice. Being filled with love feels so much better than being filled with hate.
The next step I take is to consciously seek "good news" or accounts of wonderful things happening in the world. I do this until I feel like there is more of this than horror.
Finally, I look at where I need to improve my own outlook and habits, and how I can commit more random acts of kindness. I am not perfect at this, however I can only hang onto my good intentions and seek out others who will hold me in this while I do the same for them.
I believe we cannot create the change we want in the world when we focus only on how bad things are. We need to deliberately seek the good. I also believe that if we are not able to access a certain stillness within, it will be impossible to journey through life peacefully. As the song says, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me" (Jill Jackson &
If you feel like you want some assistance in creating serenity within the storm, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.