I passed a church today displaying a sign, "Resolve to stop the violence." Not your run-of-the-mill vow to lose 10 pounds or start eating more vegetables. Stop the violence. How in the world can I stop the violence?
Could I have prevented the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary? Can I calm the fighting in the endless Israel-Palestine war? The inventory of violence in our world is crushing. What can I do? What can you do?
Virtually nothing - as long as we believe that violence is a behavior. No commad or legislation has, or ever will, control human behavior. And lord knows we've tried. More police, more laws, more restrictions. Yet, all we achieve is more fear. Year after year we helplessly ask the same question - "How do we stop this from ever happening again?"
Our only hope is to recognize that violence begins before behavior. It festers and breeds in our every thought of anger or judgment. Condemnation, jealousy, resentment, contempt, prejudice, hatred, ridicule, loathing, scorn, sarcasm. All those lead-heavy thoughts pull us into darkness and ravage our souls.
Perhaps you don't quite dive to the depths of these black emotions, but what about complaining, blame, grouchiness, accusation or suspicion? Few, if any of us, can say we don't 'go there' on occasion.
Regardless of the severity of our negativity, it's all energy and energy created does not dissipate. It transforms into a physical reality.
Every thought of anger and hatred is destructive. Even their milder cousins, annoyance and dislike, destroy. First, they attack your own peace of mind and then they add to humanity's collective state of fear.
Each drop of negativity adds to the bucket of fear - and fear spawns attack. Those who do not fear do not injure. To stop the violence in the world we must stop the fear in ourselves.
Fear urges, "Do unto them before they do unto you."
It beckons, "Take more than you need or they will take it all."
It warns, "Evil is around every corner. Arm yourself."
The sick-to-your-stomach feeling you have, when you're cloaked in negativity, isn't confined to your physical body. It's an energy that is released into the world and bonds with and attracts other such energies. And when the collective level of disturbance is powerful enough, it manifests in an outbreak of violence.
This you can do - stop the violence by refusing to let thoughts of harm enter the world through your mind. Easier said than done? Yes. But, let me ask this, "How difficult is it to continually feel the churn of anger in your gut?" How delicious would it be to feel generosity and curiosity instead?
Each thought you have is your contribution to the world's condition. You can end violence by stopping it in you first.