Anger helps straighten out a problem like a fan helps straighten out a pile of papers.” – Susan Marcotte
Like many Americans, it’s exhausting trying to process the continuous tragic events that 2020 forced into our lives.
I did not need to listen to George Floyd’s cries to feel sickened deep within. The still photo and radio commentary was horrific enough. Sadly, while millions united in sorrow and compassion over that heinous act, violence quickly severed it. Instead of uniting all colors and ethnicities of Americans for positive change, opportunists hijacked it for media attention, profit, looting, violence, destruction, and anarchy. Physical and verbal anger spread fiercly like COVID-19.
I support genuinely peaceful protests by speaking out for what one believes, and as a student of life I try to understand other views — including the intensifying hateful rhetoric against America. I’ve heard disappointments, disbelief, indignation and anger. Some condone violence because they say no one listens, or it’s because of inequality or no job opportunities.
Does emoting wrath through violence truly solve anything — or is it a choke hold protracting the strife? Does violence create a volley of mindsets that cannot actualize a solution?
“We often misuse our minds. We go to dark places or we work against ourselves. We inject fear into our bodies, sometimes by the media. So much of that kind of stress is avoidable. How we think is our choice.” – Daisy Lee, Advanced Qigong Instructor and Clinical Qigong Therapist
American civil rights activist Bob Woodson would agree. Growing up in poverty, he dedicated his life to transforming other lives, schools, and troubled neighborhoods through his solutions-based Woodson Center. Continually speaking out, Woodson says, “We must learn from our past. For 100 years, black families prospered because of our Christian faith and the nuclear family. They understood that the best response to disrespect is performance, and the best response to oppression is resilience.”
Changing the Channel
Knowing that what we think or view often comes to fruition, I consciously limit violence in my sphere — be it videos, photos, movies, music, people, experiences, and sensationalized media hype. You could say I censor it — the quantity and quality. When weather forecasting turned 99.9% sensationalized fear-based, I turned it off. When the pumps at my local gas station began blaring the news, I switched to a competitor — six miles away.
Qigong instructor Daisy Lee also avoids the news as much as possible because she doesn’t want to be consumed with negative energy. She says somehow she always gets the information she needs. So do I. And in a calmer form for reasonable consideration. Still, loving and caring deeply about America makes it difficult to ignore the rape of Lady Liberty.
What the Tao Says about Violence
Trying to outrun the inferno erasing our culture, I turn to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book “Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao.” In his translation of the 31st Verse he advises:
“Distance yourself from as many images of death as possible, including watching movies or TV shows that depict killing as a form of entertainment, along with news reports that emphasize the extinguishing of life. Teach your kids, and any children you can, to sanctify life. Encourage them not to take pleasure in the demise of so-called enemies, terrorists, or insurgents — all of these kinds of death, be they on a battlefield or an urban street, are evidence of our collective will to kill. And don’t demonstrate hatred and outrage; rather, teach yourself and others that every victory accomplished with weapons is a funeral that should be mourned.”
Tao Te Ching Verse 31
translated by William Martin in “A Path and a Practice: Using Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching as a Guide to an Awakened Spiritual Life”
Weapons of violence
are contrary to the common good,
no matter how skillfully used,
So we vow to do no harm.
Faced with unavoidable violence
we remember this vow,
and return immediately to peace.
Battles are not with “enemies”
but with beings like ourselves.
Knowing this, we do not rejoice in victory
nor take delight in the downfall of others.
Victory is an illusion and gains us nothing.
Once a battle is over we lay our weapons down
and weep that this has happened.
Peace or Violence – Who Gets to Choose?
I join Carol Swain in questioning why are rappers allowed to record songs about killing cops when hate speech is censored? Why is peaceful prayer removed from school while Hollywood is allowed to denigrate women with profanity, graphic sex and violence? Why are peaceful churches forced to close during COVID-19 yet violent mobs can freely assemble? Why are impressionable young minds — or all minds for that matter — being programmed with violence and hatred through all forms of media?
“Weapons also include nonphysical behaviors that are just as destructive such as violent words, gestures, and threats that aren’t a part of humankind’s higher nature.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
I do not surrender to policed thought as I find constructive dialogue fosters understanding while shouting down destroys it. If anyone can explain to me how burning cities, looting, destroying public property, making demands without majority consent, spitting on police, burning churches, humiliating others, and victimization solves anything, or unites humanity, I am willing to listen.