But, having been through this a few times with the Columbine shootings, Sandy Hook, the Colorado theater shootings and now most recently at Arapahoe High School among many others, I’m tired of looking outside of myself for the answers. I’m tired of saying “something was just wrong with that kid,” or “someone needs to do something about this.”
Is it possible that I’m responsible for these shootings? Is it possible that my lack of mindfulness and my self-centered life is part of the problem? Is it true that I’m so busy consuming and trying to take care of #1 and my family that I’m failing to show up for my community? Isn’t it true that I mostly think about myself? It’s true that I’m often so wrapped up in my work and “getting somewhere” that I barely even notice my own children?
How much time do I spend truly listening and caring for others? How often do I even notice fellow human beings in my day to day life? Why am I so damn busy and unable to slow down to truly care and be of assistance? Is it possible that we are taking the easy way out to only ask for our politicians to make another law or blaming the gun makers or even our schools?
I take responsibility for co-creating a culture that creates kids who shoot each other. I am the problem. I'll take responsibility. We should all take responsibility. It is ‘we’ who create this shared culture. It’s not just the politicians, the gun makers and the NRA. There are no enemies outside of our own creation.
Now, I’m directing this to the yoga/mindfulness community so you may think I’m “preaching to the choir.” Well maybe I am. But, it’s a BIG choir. 20 million Americans say they are Yogis according to latest Yoga in America Study. Another 20 million identify themselves as meditators according to a 2007 USA Today study. That’s 40 million Americans – more than 15% of us claiming to have an introspective yogic practice.
So sure, sign that petition to ban guns. Go to the rally to show your love for those affected by this latest tragedy. Shed tears. Write letters. Make meaningful heartfelt facebook posts to the parents of the children. But, it’s time to do more than those external signs of love and caring. It’s time to look within. It’s time to see that you are not broken. It’s time to see that you are whole so you can help others, especially our children see they are whole and good. It’s time to know deeply that there’s nothing worth missing out on your kid’s life for. You don’t need a bigger house or a nicer car or a higher status in your career. You need to slow down and show up and truly care for yourself so you can care for others.
We have a foundation to make real change, and we’ve come a long way. It’s time to make great beings commonplace. It’s time for YOU to wake up and realize that YOU are a great being. It’s time to realize deeply that YOU are the change you are looking for outside yourself.
If you’d just slow down and look within you’d see that you are Mother Teresa. You are Martin Luther King. You are Nelson Mandela. You are The Dalia Lama. You are whole, perfect, peaceful and full of pure potential. YOU are the one to go into our schools and sit with our children. You are the one to make the change. You are the one to love yourself so much that it pours out into our collective culture.
We are the hope, change and enlightened culture we’ve been looking for outside ourselves. So hit that mat. Sit on that cushion. Look within for the answers to why and how. If you do this you’ll be pleased with what you find and you will see an end of this violence in our lifetime. Our 15% will grow to 30%. We’ll hit the tipping point where the whole culture becomes enlightened, free of suffering and sorrow. It’s up to you. One at a time. We can do this. We are doing this. Let’s do this!
"As a nation, we can’t stop every act of violence. We can’t heal every troubled mind. But if we want to live in a country where we can go to work, send our kids to school, and walk our streets free from fear, we have to keep trying. We have to keep caring. We have to treat every child like they’re our child. Like those in Sandy Hook, we must choose love. And together, we must make a change." Visit SandyHookPromise.org to get involved.