Address the Violence Within Us

No matter your stance on current world events the first two sentences in this video apply: “Address the violence within us. Address the violence within us.”

I’m choosing to stop the war in my home. The war with my family, friends, & community. And, ultimately, the war within me.

Wars like:

  • my husband is wrong
  • my children should always be respectful
  • my children should DO AS I SAY
  • people shouldn’t cut me off in traffic
  • my friends should include me
  • I need you to apologize
  • they’re rude
  • people can be so inconsiderate
  • I need to do it right

We commit a hundred wars a day, I reckon.

You don’t think you understand war? What goes on inside of you when you get offended? When you yell at your children? When you argue with your spouse because you’re right, damn it. Those are wars, my friends.

Can you stop yourself in the middle of your convictions – right in the middle of that argument with that person about that thing that always pisses you off? I know I can’t…at least not often.  I’m completely and utterly believing that I’m right.  It feels physically impossible to stop in that moment.  Can you taste that commitment to your story?  For me, it’s a complete block to any other possibility.  I have a big fat ‘NO!’ to any other story other then what I’m believing in the moment.  I feel that ‘no’ manifest itself physically in my body with tension and constriction.  

When I’m really believing I’m right about something, the next thing I do is recruit people who agree with me.  Other fundamentalists who also believe that our kids should never lie.  I talk to other parents and vent about how horrible kids can be and I get nods of understanding and sympathy.  And I’ve nodded along with the best of them. Not that I’m saying it’s so bad to support our friends – quite the opposite.  I just notice that I look for corroborating evidence – other people who agree with me and will testify to it vehemently.  And then I never have to leave my bubble of “they’re wrong and I’m right”.

I’ve also been a fundamentalist believer in the religion of “people should be considerate of others” (me actually – that guy playing his music so loud in the next camp site over, should be considerate of me).  And when they’re not, I commit assassinations in my mind.  Those lowly inconsiderate people are not worthy – they deserve public shaming.

Simply asking me if the story I’m clinging to is true, could be pathway out of war.  Maybe – just maybe – people shouldn’t be considerate of others?  Huh.  Well…real life evidence seems to support that.  And perhaps they should sometimes consider their own needs and I can consider mine.  Or MAYYYYbe, I could try on being considerate of them.  Wouldn’t THAT be a novel idea?!  That guy in the campsite with the loud music?  I could consider that he enjoys his music and doesn’t realize it’s loud.  I could walk over with a considerate frame of mind.  Or who knows? Maybe my consideration leads me to not being bothered by the music at all.  I could be at peace with the music.

Perhaps I can’t do anything directly about the tragic happenings in Paris or elsewhere but I CAN work on stopping the wars in my life. It takes only me to do that.

“Defense is the first act of war.”
– Byron Katie

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