Things crawl in the darkness
That imagination spins
Needles at your nerve ends
Crawl like spiders on your skin
Pounding in your temples
And a surge of adrenaline
Every muscle tense to fence the enemy within
I'm not giving in to security under pressure
I'm not missing out on the promise of adventure
I'm not giving up on implausible dreams
Experience to extremes
Experience to extremes...
Suspicious looking stranger
Flashes you a dangerous grin
Shadows across your window...
Was it only trees in the wind?
~ Rush ~ The Enemy Within ~
It happened again last week ... that awful feeling when you hear there has been a “mass shooting”. By now, most have heard about the precious children and adults killed in Newton, Connecticut. With every angle discussed, dissected and reviewed, over and over again. By now, most have heard about the precious children stabbed in China.
So what does this all mean? Can we predict it? Is it a dark part of human nature? And how do we make sense of such senseless acts?
Currently there is a great deal of discussion again on gun control. But perhaps we need to look at if our pop culture glorifies violence ... we need to address issues of anger and mental illness. And maybe instead of lack of gun control maybe lack of parental control.
There is a reason why violence seems to be escalating and our efforts to end violence isn’t working. The root cause may be how we are raising our future generation. With challenging times creating pain, are we providing our children what they need to cope?
Pain is triggered by challenges. And this pain brings forth the defences people have built to hold their feelings at bay. But just like a nations’s defenses are so often violent, so are also our individual defences. And the greater challenges are, the longer they continue until triggered and they erupt.
Depending on upbringing, there may be no capacity to feel feelings and know what to do with them in a healthy way. The defense against early pain and often early powerlessness is fueled by holding, exerting, or forcing power over and against other people. This is a form of violence.
And punishment for violence doesn’t work. Laws outlawing violence and then punishing it don’t work ... take gun control. Although it may prevent guns from being used for violence, will it end it? Probably not. People who are defending against their pain with striking out will just find another way to do it.
So what can we do? Well at any age we can start by discerning which feelings we simply need to feel, which feelings we need to safely explore back into our childhood for healing, and which feelings we need to allow to lead us safely into action. And if we don’t have these capacities ... we need to seek help.
Look within ourselves to find what defenses
we have created to defend us against our own feelings ...
In addition to building the capacity to feel, we can honestly discover what is in the violent currents of defense within us and heal those currents themselves.
Realizing not only do we create our own individual outer lives from our inner life, but we also co-create our outer communal life from our inner lives. It all comes from within. We have a choice to create something more healthy, more grounded, more real, more pure, more truth, more peaceful ... from the inside out.
We need to begin to change the fabric of our own individual lives before we can change the fabric of our culture ...
We have to start by doing the work and not be afraid of our feelings, especially the deep and intense ones. Most of us are afraid to look within where we have buried those violent currents and the potential to act on the. Most of us are afraid to ask for help. We must invest our time, energy, money, mental and emotional resources to work on our inner life if we want to see a real change in ending violence ...