Extreme Compassion

“Don’t blame a horse for his life circumstances.”, Buck Brennanman.

I love this notion. It seems so logical and obvious. It could apply to humans as well, specifically perpetrators. I believe they are a product of their environment over which they had no control. Perhaps this idea then becomes less logical and obvious.

When I think of the unthinkable tragedy of yet another mass shooting, I can’t help but wonder about this man’s life story. I’m sure he didn’t envision this as his mark on the world when he was a child wondering who he would be when he grew up.

Thich Nhat Hanh would say that we failed him. We as a community didn’t give him what he needed. And I wonder how I would feel if it was my father or spouse or co-worker or neighbour. How many people were there who heard him reach out for help in all the unskilled ways there are to do that?

No one is born with a heart that hates. That comes from the horrifically hard knocks of life. I think what is called for now, from all of us, is to give this man what he needed as a child and needs now, which is namely love and compassion. I know it’s not an easy task but do we want to continue to live in a world that offers hate when what is transformative is love? I want to live in a world where we feel compassion for those less fortunate than ourselves and this man must surely be one of those.

I want to live in a world where we see beyond the behaviour and look deep into the underlying causes. The reasons that drove this man to this terrible crime, theses are the conditions we need to address. These changes are the place we need to direct our anger, rage and grief we feel at this senseless loss. When theses situations change, then we will have a world of peace. Then there will be the kind of love in the world where these things simply can not happen. We will have evolved into a loving community including everyone.

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