As a nation and as individuals, we have all been shaken by the recent violence against the staff and innocent students of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. And it is our responsibility as adults, as citizens, parents, and as human beings to reflect on the reasons behind such senseless violence. In the days following this terrible tragedy, an initial outpouring of love and support for the victims has been quickly segued by an upswing of fear, mass purchase of firearms, body armor, and even an introduction of armored backpacks for small children with licensed designs printed on them. Where are we going with this attitude? How can fear protect our children? What future are we imprinting upon these impressionable minds? How can children learn to trust when their parents are quaking and acting irrationally? Is our nation addicted to fear, so attached to guns, that we have become our own enemy? For the enemy at large is none other than fear itself. To live in fear is a living death. This is not the legacy that I would like to pass onto my child or to any child. Love is the fruit of life, and this is what we must cultivate in our hearts. To pass on peace, to live peace, we must be peaceful. We must hunt down the enemy in our hearts. That enemy is fear. Each of us must combat our own addiction to fear to heal this nation. To let go of fear, each of us must find a personal way to embrace uncertainty and learn to trust ourself and each other.
I know a lot about fear. I grew up in a family addictred to fear, who used fear to manipulate and control, to hold and to exclude. Fear is a powerful weapon. Love is even more powerful, but love requires awareness and choice. When Jesus told people to love their enemies, he was asking people to make the most difficult choice there is in life: to hold love in your heart when it is logical to hold fear and hatred. This choice means allowing uncertainty and faith to take precedence over the desire to control and manipulate our circumstances and our fates. For it is the fear that the parts of life we cannot control will hurt or destroy us. Allowing this fear to dwell in our hearts prevents us from transforming our own lives and those within our sphere with the healing power of light and love that innately is our gift. Hatred and fear are easier choices, as negativity and destructiveness seem to come easier to us humans as we grow up. It is our conditioning that makes us this way. Our children do not need to grow up surrounded by people addicted to fear. We can choose to change. We can create a nation based on love and trust, and pass this legacy on to our children.
As a parent, like all reasonable human and most mammal parents, it is in my biology, my heart, and being to protect my children, and even those children who are not mine but who are within my reach. They are vulnerable beings unable to fully care for themselves and protect themselves from the vagaries of life. Nature itself provides a host of dangers to which we are all exposed. Yet in modern life, in the United States, where no war is being officially waged, children and adults alike are exposed to a constant barrage of violence that is created by man. People constantly proclaim their second ammendment right to own and bear arms, under the pretext of upholding individual rights to freedom and to release oneself from the bondage of some invisible oppressor. This, in today’s world, is institutionalized paranoia – a hero complex gone awry. If we are to take meaningful action in the world – if a man is to be a man and a woman to be a woman – then we must rethink what meaningful action and liberty truly are. We no longer are governed by an oppressive king. We have institutionalized democracy, and a democratic nation and its people must use their voices to speak up – not guns. In France, where I lived for nearly 18 years, citizens speak up on a daily basis. Demonstrations clog the streets when people feel their rights and desires as citizens are not being fully respected. In this manner, the voice of the people is heard and change is effected. In France, the voice of the people has power, and the government is obliged to listen and to take into account this voice in the legislative process. In this manner, there is balance of power and something closer to true democracy.
If we are to reform our gun control laws and create a more peaceful society, we must first look into our own hearts. As I speak in this blog about the balance of masculine and feminine forces, I have previously mentioned that I feel the United States of America leans to heavily on the side of the masculine, and that this imbalance is destructive not only to this nation, but because of globalization, to the entire world. An addiction to wielding physical power over others, an addiction to power itself – the desire to control and manipulate others are masculine traits gone haywire. Rampant individualism has insufficient feminine presence to counter this force. We need a voice for the earth, for nature, for community, for love, for peaceful response, for inward contemplation, for art. Without balance of masculine and feminine forces, there is destruction. When hunters take more from the earth than their personal need requires, there is imbalance. When fear weighs heavier than love, there is imbalance. The enemy is not the mentally ill, the terrorist, Communism, aliens, or any other threat seen or unseen outside of ourselves. I reiterate: the enemy is fear, and it is found inside each and every one of us. It is there that the search for love must begin. It is there that fear must be laid aside. And it is there that surrender to the uncertainty of life must be embraced in order for each of us to live in peace with ourselves and with one another.