I’ve just learned that a family from a nearby community has suffered a terrible loss. Their eldest child has been killed in a car accident. The funeral is soon.
The tragic loss of a loved one is devastatingly reverberating. The death overcomes the ones who loved the person. The death scares the people who know the family and who fear for the lives of their own loved ones. The death wounds friends and close acquaintances.
Comforting the family of the suddenly bereft is hard. Here are the words of Spirit from the chapter “Concrete Living” in Oneself-Living:
“Natural death is painful for the survivors, but because it is “natural” is easier to accept. Deaths through accidents, disasters (natural or not), struggles such as wars and territorial conflicts, or other human-handed causes are harder to digest. These deaths cause more lingering effects…”
The message: Those left behind, the ones who remember and despair, must be comforted and supported. They must be allowed to mourn and feel overwhelming sadness. The comforters must be patient and open to the mourners’ grief. Slowly, as time passes, the mourners will be pulled back into the world of living, because that is the natural flow of life.
I will visit the house of mourning in a few days. I will bring compassion.
These days the headlines scream terror. Many people doing many bad things to victims of bad timing, being there by happenstance, disliked group affiliation, or suspicious lifestyles. Ferocity is an innate quality in people—in all people, but it is usually contained. When ferocity is allowed to take hold, the results are often tragic.
Unkindness is not an innate quality; it is learned. Children learn it from caregivers and people who affect their lives when they are young. Unkindness is doused on others, and it drenches but does not pass into the behavior, unless the unkindness is consistently administered or is traumatically experienced. Unkindness that has become part of a person opens the person to release ferocity.
Uncontrollable hatred is also not an innate quality, but it is felt when it has been experienced or when it is lived by example. In other words, children who experience uncontrollable hatred directed at them may internalize it and use it against themselves or others, or children who see and hear demonstrations of uncontrollable hatred towards other people may unconsciously digest the hatred towards others and display it in the future. When uncontrollable hatred is felt and unkindness has been learned, ferocity develops.
Throughout history, people have viciously hurt other people. The cycle of ferocity does not change because people continue to teach unkindness and hatred. Ferocity can be controlled, but it requires conviction, understanding, declaration (public statements), patience, vigilance, kindness, and action by participants and sideliners so that the ferocity remains inactive. Conviction is the solution to ferocity—conviction that ferocity can be controlled and neutralized.
Tragedy does not have to be the norm.