Today’s post is a timely reflection and meditation from retreat presenters Susan Boruff and Kathy Anderson. Let’s take a few quiet moments to read this reflection by Susan and then watch the video at the end by Kathy.
How You Can Cure Violence
“We each contain the potentials to be both destructive and creative.” Jeremiah Abrams, Jungian therapist.
I was talking to a friend the other day about the documentary Tiger King. He told me that he didn’t realize that the story was real until about the 4th episode. I can relate. I look around our world right now and it seems as if it’s a dream, not real.
Here is what I know is real. According to Catholic priest, Diarmuid O’Murchu: “What we see as ‘evil’ brings new life.” He goes on to say, “struggle is a pathway to happiness; sickness is the shadow side of health; failure is success in disguise; Calvary precedes resurrection; darkness gives way to light.”
Science teaches us that conflict is integral to harmony (it’s called chaos theory). The invitation during conflict is to embrace the chaos, “acknowledge its cultural and personal impact and strive to integrate its effect on our lives, personally and collectively.” This is a major challenge of our time and it starts one person at a time.
I mentioned a few reflections back about the work of Dr. Gary Slutkin, an epidemiologist and founder of an organization called Cure Violence. Dr. Slutkin discovered, during his years managing epidemics in over 25 countries, that stopping the spread of a virus required educating people on changing their behavior. When he returned to the United States, he realized that the same educational skills he used in stopping the spread of a virus could be used in stopping the spread of violence. He says violence is contagious like an epidemic disease.
And that is exactly what we have been seeing on our streets.
In order to help heal the divisions around us, we start by healing our own divisions. We have to see where we are contributing to the violence. Jesus put it this way, “take the log out of your eye, before you remove the speck in your brother or sister’s eye.”
Or as St. Paul says in Romans 7:21- “Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”
We need to look at “our potential to be destructive.” Jesus’s crucifixion shows us what is inside each one of us. He made visible all the pain in the world. The darkness was brought into the light.
And that is what is happening on our streets right now.
How is your pain affecting others? How is other’s pain affecting you? Can you see the suffering as an invitation to learn to care for and love ourselves and each other more deeply and confidently?
Jesus gave us a new command: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. What does this love look like?
It looks like loving all parts of us, the “good, the bad and the ugly,” including our potential to be destructive. This is the love that will remind us of our original goodness and bring forth new life.
God reminded us of the goodness of creation 7 times in the book of Genesis. God saw that the light was good, saw that is was good, saw that is was good, saw that it was good, saw that it was good, saw that it was good, saw all that He had made and it was very good. (Gen 1:4, 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, 1:21, 1:25, 1:31)
It must have been very important to Him.
Now let’s learn to see through those eyes and use our potential to be creative for good. How will you spread the goodness?
Maybe start by doing the Loving Kindness meditation with Kathy.
Jesus says, “I tell you the truth whatever you did to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me.”
You are invited to find a quiet place to sit with your back straight, which opens up your chest and opens up your heart to receive. The meditation is 9 minutes and includes several pauses for silent reflection.