Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our Only Real Protection

There were gun safety laws in Newtown, yet in spite of them what happened, happened. Clearly we need gun safety laws and more regulation of military style weapons and clips, but these are not enough. At the core it was the relationship between the shooter and his mother, the relationship between the mother and the so-called safety net/support network, and the mother’s attitude about weapons that led to the crime.


External actions and things like more cops in schools, more laws and better enforcement will never substitute for healthy, supportive and nurturing relationships between people. Such relationships are inside-out things, arising from an individual’s and community’s natural sense of compassion, inclusion and beliefs—their sense of spiritual connection. Spiritual connection is an individual thing, clearly supported or not by communities of individuals. Choosing to connect with spirit and live from the inside-out, compassionately and inclusively, is an individual thing. But it can be as contagious as fear mongering——fearing, hating and blaming--choosing to live from the outside-in.


 “What happened in Newtown reminds us of just how much our survival depends on unspoken social contracts and strong communities [inside-out stuff],” Courtney Martin, author of Do It anyway: The New Generation of Activists, wrote. “People feel safer externalizing ‘evil’ and pathologizing individuals [the outside-in stuff]. But the large scale social inequality [that breeds this ‘evil,’ and the anger, fear and poverty that goes with it] is never labeled the ‘monster.’”


In, The Culture of Fear, Barry Glassner wrote that the “media is fun-house mirror on reality—‘a distorted view [pathologizing individuals and externalizing ‘evil’]making the community, the nation and the world appear much more dangerous than is actually the case.’”


Let’s take responsibility as individuals and do the inner work of connecting with spirit first. From there, “let’s create [healthy, nurturing] places and relationships where difficult truths can be spoken before they curdle and endanger. Children are watching us to see what monsters we have made up - and what communities [and relationships] we have created as the real safeguard against what threatens them.”


We can go up to the movie screen (the external) to fix the out of focus picture (with more police and laws) or we can go to the projection booth (the inner source) to fix it by getting our bloated nothingness out of the way of the divine circuits and allowing our natural compassion and desire for healthy relationships, inclusion and sense of community to flow. Until more of us are able to do the inner work and build the nurturing relationships and communities that are our only real protection, we will need the laws and regulations to shield us.

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