The deaths of the children and adults who tried to protect them in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut renewed the debate about how to prevent this kind of violence. How to prevent yet more unpredictable killings in more schools, theaters, and malls by more unpredictable suicidal murders. Some say more gun control. Some say more school security. Some say more care for the mentally ill. Others say our culture of violence – violent movies, violent games, violent language – is the cause. Almost no one says, “Look inside ourselves.”
The origin of the violence that erupted in Newtown is in us. When I look for it in me, I always find it. If you look for it, you will find it in you, too. Kindness and cruelty, patience and impatience, forgiveness and revenge live in each of us. Which will we choose? We answer this question each moment whether or not we are aware of it. Acting with cruelty (for example, in anger), with impatience (for example, in superiority), or revenge (for example, in inferiority) creates only emotional or physical violence and destruction. What is in you is in the world. When you change yourself, you change the world. The choices you make about yourself are important. They create wars, genocides, slavery, and poverty or harmony, cooperation, sharing, and reverence for Life. If you want to change the world, you must change yourself. Every experience offers an opportunity, including your experiences of the violence in Newtown.