I blame my metta practice for how easily and frequently I find myself tearing up.
As I watched Anderson Cooper tonight interviewing victims of the Aurora, CO theater shooting, I noticed I had stopped breathing. I recognize too well the look of shock and horror in the witnesses eyes. My heart breaks for them. I cry for them. I know from experience their lives may never be the same. A trust has been broken. While there is no written contract stating that your life will never be touched by violence, you certainly never expect to be just minding your own business in the relative safety of your home or a movie theater and then be confronted by someone with a gun.
That happened to me over 30 years ago and there are still reverberations. I was at a friend’s house and two men burst into the home threatening to shoot us. They didn’t. They did other things. My body still holds the memories. The event still occasionally revisits me in my dreams. This even after years of psychological and spiritual work. I feel fortunate to have therapists and teachers who have helped me turned that shitty event into the manure in which to grow my compassion.
But through the tears there is also anger and outrage. But, it’s not directed at the shooter. I don’t feel pity for him, yet I know it takes a very sick, deluded person to do what he did. No, my anger is at the NRA and its supporters who think it’s OK to be able to legally sell assault rifles to the general public and who have fought tooth and nail for people to be able to buy as many guns and as much ammunition as they please. No red flags were raised about this guy and his recent weapon buying spree. It was all legal. And it makes me sick. And I want to get on a soapbox. I want to blame some “other” for allowing this. But, I know it will do no good. Already online I can read the gun control debates. Everyone just spouting “I’m right, you’re wrong” with no true dialogue.
Tonight as I was doing my metta practice I did a round for everyone affected by the events today in Aurora. And while I certainly wish them happiness and peace, health and strength, and ease of well-being, I wish with all my heart for them that one day that they may once again feel safe and protected. It may take some work, but I want to hold them and tell that it is indeed possible.
I live in Colorado and am about 55 miles from Aurora. Thank you for your post. I also practiced much metta today as I watched the news unfold. I am dumbfounded by this cruel attack. May you also be safe and may we all be liberated. Namu Amida Butsu.
if it is truly gonna be ‘we all’ then we better do a round for the shooter as well and all the other canaries in the coal mines that prove once again that our chain of human connection is only as strong as its weakest link.
I didn’t think I’d actually talk too much about the Aurora shootings online, simply because the type of person I am I know that even as a guy there are certain things that really cause me to emotionally explode. Thought of anyone being killed really hurts me, especially defenseless children.
Its nothing compared to the ongoing pain of the victims of the shooting but I definitely had feelings of depression throughout the duration of that day. I felt sudden urges to cry–my friend has a 3 month old daughter and I remember holding her when I came over to visit and it was very hard to hold back tears thinking, ” What if this horrible event took her life away? What if she was there?” After some talks with a friend of 10 years or so I dispelled my fears of going out in public this weekend and while I was out I just thought about how we really don’t know what’s on people’s minds…If they’re broken mentally, that they need help or whatever it is going on in their minds or hearts.
My heart goes out to all the victims of this terrible tragedy.
I know it might seem silly and even contradictory to my own bitterness that I fight on a regular basis, but I hope that one day we can live together in a way where there’s no reason to be hesitant to trust one another and that people don’t have to question the motives of someone in regards to everyone’s overall safety.
I’m also sorry to hear about what happened to you as well, Lazy Buddha although in sharing that if people really think about it, this definitely shows how incredibly strong of a person you are to persevere despite your past. I only hope this type of inspiration reaches people in Aurora helping them to move forward.