The world seems to have gone mad. Nearly every day there is some new heartbreaking incident of violence and terror. I watch as people try to make sense of it. I see people try to isolate and fix the cause of it. While many move directly into anger and fear and look for someone or something to blame; there are also those who plead that the answer to violence can’t be found in more violence. Love, Compassion and Forgiveness have to be the answer.
While I also believe that Love is the answer, I understand why it is not an appealing answer. Anger and lashing back distract and seem to ease the pain and suffering of loss. It gives us back a sense of control and power that gets lost when someone takes from us someone that we loved and couldn’t protect. It feels just. It feels right. It feels necessary.
After all, if we don’t fight back and hit back hard, aren’t we are telling the haters that they can just get away with it? They can hurt us and hurt the ones we love and all we are going to do is give them Love and Compassion and Forgiveness? How can that be the right answer? Don’t we have to find them and make them pay for what they have done? Don’t we at least need to stop them from their path of destruction?
All really good questions. Ones that I don’t have the answers to.
Therefore, I am going to talk about what I know about, the mind. What I do know is that it is the mind that is directing people to commit violence.
The mind is an extremely powerful instrument, but it is not very smart. That sounds like strange thing to say about the mind, but it happens to be true. Most of us do not realize that the part of that mind that reasons and uses intelligence is not the same part that gets angry, holds onto resentments, attacks and kills people out of anger or hate. Those impulses rest in the sub-conscious mind.
Once you have read this, you might even think that this is obvious. After all, when you are using reason, you are never angry, and when you are angry it is nearly impossible to think rationally. But this is rarely obvious to us when our mind is directing us towards violence. And when I say violence, I don’t just mean the kind that kills or injures people physically, I mean any action whose intention is to cause harm to another.
Given this definition, I doubt anyone can claim that they have never committed violence against another. Even if it was by simply by choosing not to respond to someone because you knew your silence would hurt them and you wanted them to be hurt. By my definition, that is violence.
Why? Because it works exactly the same way in the mind that choosing to kill someone in order to cause pain works in the mind. The only real difference is in degrees. So I don’t see violence in the world as a terrorist problem, or a mental health problem, I see it as a human problem and mostly a mind problem. All of us are responsible and all of us can do something about it. We can learn how to heal our own mind.
In order to begin the journey of healing, you must first see how the mind works. Why is the sub-conscious mind telling you to attack and hurt others? It is doing that because you told it to. You just don’t remember telling it.
So here’s how the sub-conscious mind works:
Step 1: Identify what needs protection. You must identify those things that are weak and need to be protected and defended. This will include anything from your body, to loved ones, to your community or culture, to your possessions, to your worth, to your identity, etc.
Step 2: Identify the threat. You must identify what are threats to the things you value so you can attack them and prevent them from causing harm. However, to program the sub-conscious to recognize a threat, you must simply provide an image of what to look for. Remember, you can’t use reason. Therefore, you tell the mind to look for black people, or gay people, or muslims, or police, etc.
Step 3: The sub-conscious program runs. Now every time your sub-conscious mind sees whatever it was told is a threat, it sends a message to attack. This message comes in the form of anger. It could simply be irritation or frustration or annoyance. None-the-less, it tells you to get rid of the thing that is threatening you and what you value.
Step 4: You decide whether or not to take action. At this point, you may decide to listen to your sub-conscious and attack or you may decide to try to ignore it until the feeling goes away. If you took action, you listened to an automatic program. In most cases, you attacked someone who posed no real threat to you. They just looked like what you told your mind to attack.
Hopefully, you can see that this use of the mind is incredibly unhelpful, even at protecting what you value. These beliefs are causing a lot of damage without being of much help. These beliefs in the sub-conscious mind need to relinquished and healed.
I would also, like to point out here, that letting go of these dangerous beliefs in the sub-conscious mind does not preclude a reasoned approach to protection. Please note that under the definition of violence that I gave, killing someone for self-protection would not be violence. That would be a reasonable action. One that does not require anger or hatred to motivate it.
I believe that people often hold onto these dangerous sub-conscious beliefs because they feel like they keep them safe. They don’t. In fact, they do just the opposite. They put us all in danger.
We can only heal our own minds. But that is a lot!