On June 14, 2017, fifty people were murdered at a Club in Orlando, Florida and another fifty-eight in Las Vegas the week before that. A couple of weeks ago, on January 6, 2021 a group of people stormed the capitol and four more people were killed. Things are so bad that it is now a weekly or daily occurrence.
Beyond the horrifying reality that all of these human beings died for no reason and the inexplicable suffering that surrounds these murders, I had to reflect on this sad and dark subject.
All actions are moved by images, by ideas and beliefs. All ideas, beliefs and images are mental. What is mental is within us, and often is formed from external sources. I guess that’s almost always the case. We can draw inspiration from external sources and we can also become discouraged, hateful, confused, violent, and many other negative and positive states can influence our minds. I am learning that at the root of all acts of violence is desire. Desire generates frustration the same way a mirage does in the desert. We never reach the mirage and we can never satisfy our desires, and when we do have a wish fulfilled, a new one is formed immediately. Frustration breeds aggressiveness, which in turn creates violence. The illusion of desire and its possessive root move us in the direction of achieving our dreams, and failing to achieve our desire or our dreamed-of object or seeing that it is impossible generates frustration and violence. At that point all that violence is internal, but if nothing is done, then it will manifest itself outwardly in violent acts.
Due to all this and the difficulty of truly understanding the root of violence and truly managing that violence within ourselves, it is important that we understand clearly and without further detours or intellectual superstructures that “there are no false doors to escape this blind desire for violence.” The best thing we can do is work internally every day to resist the violence within us and help others do the same.
I am sure that some day in the not too distant future, we will recognize that all our rights begin with the individual, but also that they end with the “other” individual. When the “other” is as important to me as I am, I have become truly human and internally transformed. So, I can’t help but reflect on a part of “The Path” in Silo’s Message:
“Learn to treat others the way you want them to treat you.
Learn to overcome pain and suffering in yourself, in those around you and in human society.
Learn to resist the violence that is inside you and outside of you.
Learn to recognize the signs of the sacred within and around you. “
Much learning ahead… and no wonder. Learning is precisely the most important formula for stopping suffering, resisting violence, and transforming ourselves internally. And in truth, there is no other way, there is no magic wand or political party or religion that can do the job of overcoming internal violence. When I heard these phrases fifty years ago from Silo’s mouth, the subject did not seem so important to me. Now, however, it is perhaps the most relevant thing we can say in the historical moment in which we live, and at some point it is also relevant to say it with all its lyrics. There is no other way to end violence than to learn, meditate, and increase our inner faith. Everyday…
Portland February 1, 2021