Why the World Needs More Love
In the aftermath of what has recently happened in France with the shooting of 12 people at Charlie Hebdo, and the ongoing extreme events continuing in Paris over the last few hours, I couldn’t help but ponder the concept that we continue to experience these acts of violence in our world despite the notion that we are otherwise evolving as human beings in pretty much all other areas of our society – through the accessibility of information, through technology, through global travel, and through the opportunities to innovate and address global problems. Yet we continue to witness extreme acts of violence and terrorism on a regular basis.
Reading The Independent paper today on my lunch break which was filled with stories of how France and the world have been reacting to the shootings and suspected killers, I began to question some of the very ideas I have been trying to understand and research in my studies – why does history keep repeating itself? Why is it that we continue to separate and divide ourselves collectively to the point where some people feel compelled to act out in violence against others who might not understand their beliefs, their way of thinking, or that they want to be heard, understood, accepted, and validated? These acts of violence can stem from a very youthful age – such as the number of school shootings that we have heard about in the USA over the years, most famously the Columbine shooting.
Extremist beliefs create extremist actions. Negative extremist thinking creates negative extremist action. The irony is that the people who feel compelled to harm others are the very people who need the most love. These are often the people who growing up have no good role models to help guide them to feel like they matter, that they are important, that their existence can make the world a better place. Our deep human desire to belong and be accepted means that we will seek it where it is given. If you are given positive reinforcement in life from role models who teach you that by caring for others and expressing love, you are using your skills and talents to express your essential nature – then you will identify with building a life around this. If however, you are given positive reinforcement for using hate and anger to destroy others and by doing so you are given attention, praise, and a sense of belonging with a particular group – then you will follow that path to create destruction in the world because that is the only way you are validated and accepted.
Every human being has a deep desire to be valued, accepted, loved, and belong. The problem with terrorist groups, gangs, or other groups promoting violence is that they take advantage of the vulnerabilities of others by making them feel they belong to a cause that matters, and condition belief systems that what they are doing is justified. When the mind can justify/rationalize a hateful action (‘they deserve it!’), then the body will follow. Fighting against violence/terrorism with more hate/violence against the perpetrators is feeding the system even more. What is needed is the antidote to this – the opposite of hate and fear which is love. This is the challenge of the 21st century that we are all called upon to do – love your enemies. This is the most POWERFUL act any person can do to change the world rapidly to one of unity and peace where such acts of violence are not repeated again.
I once read about a small tribe in Africa where violence rarely occurs. What is the secret? Within that community/tribe, every member has a song that is given to them upon their birth. If that individual at any point, moves away from love to fear and ends up committing an act of harm/violence, instead of punishing that person (which creates more hatred within them), the community calls them forth, forms a circle around them and sings their song to them – to remind them of who they really are. They then proceed to share every good thing they know in their heart of hearts about that individual vocalizing it collectively to the individual and publicly proclaiming it so it is witnessed by the whole tribe. The individual is thereby surrounded by love, acceptance, validation, and remembers their essential nature – which is love.
Internal pain, can be a powerful catalyst. The deepest pain is lack of self love or self hate and this often times gets projected out into the world onto others. If you want to understand what is going on for a person internally, simply observe their external actions. My point – if you judge yourself, you will most likely judge others. If you hate yourself, you will most likely hate others. If you love yourself….yes that’s right – you will love others more easily. So the next time you encounter someone who is projecting their internal pain onto you or someone else – stop for a minute and understand why they are doing what they are doing.
This is not to say that we should all accept violence and hatred. Absolutely not. But the Power of Love is that it can defend the victim and it can heal the perpetrator all at the same time. Because BOTH victim AND perpetrator need the LOVE, not just the victim. As radical as this thought might seem, if we can grasp this collectively and begin to bring love where there is hate and fear, the world would transform very quickly. It begins with self love, and ends with love for ALL human beings.
I challenge you to love and forgive all your enemies. It begins within your closest circles – what happens out in the world on a large scale is a reflection of what is happening within us on a smaller scale. Have you forgiven everyone that has ever hurt you? Have you healed all your broken relationships? Do you respond with compassion and understanding when someone is projecting their internal pain onto you? Can you stop and listen to the perpetrator and remind them that they matter in this world, that they are worthy of receiving love and belonging, and that they don’t need to receive this through committing acts of hate? Will we give each other more love on a daily basis where it is needed the most?
The revolution begins where you are now, with the people you come in contact with on a daily basis. Every action creates a ripple effect in the world. So…if the whole world followed your actions, where would you lead it? Let that be your question for the day.