Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Many years ago I stopped watching, reading or listening to the news first thing in the morning. I needed a respite from the pain, the sorrow, the negativity and the pessimism. The morning news tainted my days with feelings of despair, impotence, anger and fear. The economic crisis, escalating violence, warring nations, government corruption, the increased brutality of crime and more made me feel small and powerless. The fact that I don't read the news in the morning does not change our current conditions, but it changes what I can do about them.

Every great movement in any direction begins with a thought, a desire, a wish for something to happen. It starts on the individual level. If we want great change, we must start with ourselves, in our circle. We cannot continue to contribute to the choir of negative voices. This only keeps us spinning in place and adding to inefficiency and lack of solutions.

Judging seems easy when we read about parents who throw away a young child. We would never do that. Yet condemning the parents, calling them names and asking for them to be stoned is not the solution. We must lift ourselves up and into a peaceful way of living that by our example we minimize these occurrences. We live in a world where we don't tolerate each other, much less respect one another. If we just started by respecting ourselves and those around us–at home, at work, in our community–we could start a ripple of patience and level-headedness. We live in a macho world in which both men and women try to get ahead by whatever means possible from the smallest issue, such as who's ahead at a traffic light, to big ones. We don't know how to handle our anger and we don't have support systems to help us. We have no outlets for our frustrations. We should be our support systems, helping one another, understanding one another, lifting each other up. We should be able to see the rise in temperature in our neighbor's family and help. We should be able to feel the rise in temperature in ourselves and find someone to talk to without being judged, punished or rejected.

I read the news, after I have had a chance to meditate, pray and bolster myself up. Meditation and prayer help me channel what angers me and what I don't understand. In this practice, I also find a sense of calm that helps me as complications come up, as I read the news, as life goes on. With this sense of calm, I am able to find my way about something, how I can contribute, answers, guidance and direction. I then do what I can. I start with my son, my family, my friends, those I love, and those I don't, in my immediate perimeter. I am open to their needs. The ripple starts. They in turn become open to others. They start their own ripple.

Violence does not bring about peace. This includes physical acts of violence as well as thoughts and words of violence. All the anger in the world will not make a child feel loved. Only love can do that. Let's start a ripple of understanding, love and comfort that we may change for the better, change our surroundings for the better, our world for the better. Let us not block our potential for great changes with thoughts of judgment. We don't condone and we don't justify the wrong actions of others. But we cannot break the cycle of violence, intolerance, war and crime if we keep our thoughts there. Today, release your anger about the world. Open your heart. Be willing. With an open heart and mind and a willingness to cooperate you will receive inspiration and strength and so be an instrument for positive change.

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