Violence is the willful interference of one individual upon another, and it seems to be everywhere. In political, social, commercial and environmental spheres, violent interference in the unfolding of life seems to be a constant. A particularly hateful violence was brought to attention by the work of Eve Ensler, as summarized in her article that she recently read on Democracy Now: Congo Cancer.
One can’t help but be angry at violence, yet does this help? Certainly Eve is bringing to public attention acts many would prefer to remain in the shadows, and it is necessary to recognize violence before it can be healed, as uncomfortable as that may be. But what can heal this never-ending cycle? What might be useful next steps in healing this universal suffering? Anger is the frustrated voice of hopelessness and helplessness at the ever-presentness of violence.
To avoid the situation ignores the violence and is a violent act in itself, as it is succumbing to the fear generated by violence and feeds its continuation.
To fight violence is to engage in violence against violence, and this will not work.
The Metaview seeks a transcendent view of violence that provides an atmosphere where healing is possible, without ignoring or fighting violence.
What might help to bring this transcendent view into being is to see all violence as born out of universal misunderstanding of who we are and what life is all about.
Violence is an attempt to gain power by controlling, hurting or killing others.
While the struggle to gain power appears to be real, it is not. To have power over others or even over our selves is futile, as it can only engender resistance and thus continue the cycle of suffering.
Real power is good. It is the power that flows freely from compassion. There are many who are devoting themselves to the protection, health and education of the many victims and perpetrators of the violence in the world. This power is good and it leads to more good. This is the power of love. The effectiveness of this power comes from love’s capacity to see acts of violence as ignorant. The individual perpetrators are not to blame – the ignorant concepts about power they have been conditioned with, are to blame.
This does not condone, ignore, nor fight violent behavior. It allows for a fearless condemnation of violence and provides a refuge for those who suffer from both committing and from receiving violence.
When Jesus said: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” He was not condoning adulterous behavior, nor was he condemning those who were ready to throw stones. He stood for awareness, fearlessly. He was the truth in that moment, and all who were there understood the truth for themselves, in themselves.
Every moment of our lives is an opportunity to catch ourselves attempting “violence” through thinking we know what’s best for someone else, or through rushing to judgment and condemnation of another. And while it may be true that another is acting out of ignorance, it is equally ignorant to engage with them by attempting to fix or change them.
It’s a tall order – not an easy task, yet it is the only way to heal violence in the world. It is what we are here for: to wake-up from fear and willfulness and be conduits for good.